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Redford resignation surprises local MLAs

Doug Horner considering a run for PC leadership

By: Victoria Paterson

  |  Posted: Friday, Mar 21, 2014 02:00 pm

LEADERSHIP POTENTIAL? – Spruce Grove-St. Albert MLA and Finance Minister Doug Horner says he's considering whether or not to run for his party's leadership in the wake of Premier Alison Redford's resignation.
LEADERSHIP POTENTIAL? – Spruce Grove-St. Albert MLA and Finance Minister Doug Horner says he's considering whether or not to run for his party's leadership in the wake of Premier Alison Redford's resignation.
FILE PHOTO/St. Albert Gazette

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St. Albert’s MLAs were just as surprised as the rest of the province when Alison Redford announced her resignation on Wednesday.

“I was surprised,” said St. Albert MLA Stephen Khan. “I’m sure many other people were as well.”

Spruce Grove-St. Albert MLA and Finance Minister Doug Horner said it wasn’t necessarily the resignation that surprised him.

“I would say that I was surprised it did occur that day and that quickly. Was I surprised by the decision? Probably not as much as I would have thought,” Horner said.

Redford announced her resignation as premier, effective Sunday, following weeks of controversies over flight-related expenses and plummeting poll numbers.

“She served this province really well,” Horner said. “It’s a very tough job and it’s hard on the family and it’s hard on your personal life and I have nothing but respect for her.”

Deputy premier Dave Hancock has been tapped to serve as interim premier while the PC party gears up to select a new leader.

Now Horner, who was a candidate during the last Progressive Conservative leadership race and was third on the second ballot, is contemplating whether or not he’ll take another run at the top job.

He said the inquiries he’s hearing from his constituents are mostly centred around his leadership plans.

“We’re not closing any doors,” Horner said, adding that if he’d been asked the question three months ago, the answer would have been an absolute no.

“There’s some things I’ve seen that need to be repaired. There’s some things that need to be built and we do have the right vision and policy and values for our province. I still believe in my heart the Progressive Conservative philosophy and I still believe that we need to move in that direction,” Horner said.

While he’ll be a party member until the day he dies, Horner said he believes the party does need to reconnect to its roots.

“I’m listening to people’s advice. I’m listening to people who are asking me if I want to try that again and we’ll in due course make our decision,” he said.

He did note he has committed to getting the provincial budget passed.

Horner and Khan both hope the recent distractions end soon.

“I’m looking forward to putting some of these distractions behind us and we can continue on and do great work for the province,” Khan said. “I’m going to roll up my sleeves and do the best possible work I can in St. Albert.”

Khan had earlier told the Gazette that the premier had committed to change.

“I still believe that this government can be an agent of positive change and I look forward in playing my role,” he said.

Feedback from Khan’s constituents has included people encouraging him to “hang in there” but some have expressed disappointment with the premier and her expenses, he said.

“We all share that disappointment. But you know on a micro level those are things that we’re committed to fixing and on that macro level we’re doing so many things well,” he said.

In Khan’s efforts to praise Redford Thursday, a quote about how hard she works made a media splash.

“What I was inelegantly trying to say is that I really believe she was the hardest-working MLA that we have,” Khan said, adding that Redford was committed to the success of the province.


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