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Alison Redford spotted in Palm Springs
Chandra Lye, CTV Edmonton
Published Saturday, April 26, 2014 2:43PM MDT
Last Updated Saturday, April 26, 2014 6:33PM MDT
Former premier Alison Redford, who has missed nearly two weeks of the current legislative session, has been seen in California.
The now-MLA has not been in attendance during the current session of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta but according to Sasa Kovacevic she appeared at the same Palm Springs restaurant where he was eating on Easter Sunday.
“She came in and said that she had a reservation under the last name Redford and she sat across from me for about five or 10 minutes.
“We awkwardly exchanged glances because I am pretty sure she knew exactly that I knew who she was,” he laughed.
The Lulu California Bistro has confirmed to CTV that they had a reservation for Alison Redford at 11:30 on April 20.
Kovacevic also said Redford was seen with a younger woman, likely her daughter Sarah.
He also said she sat out of the public eye while dining.
“She did sit in the back corner of the restaurant so she wasn’t sitting anywhere near the front.”
Twitter users have been circulating an unconfirmed photo of Redford at another Palm Springs restaurant and many have expressed their outrage on the social media site.
Redford has not made an appearance at the Alberta Legislature following her resignation from the top job in March, despite remaining as the MLA for Calgary-Elbow.
According to staff in the Speaker’s office, confirmed that Redford has provided notification that her absence is warranted, which means that she will not be docked pay.
Section 34 of the Legislative Assembly Act states that MLAs will not be docked pay if they notify the speaker of their absence due to illness or injury, bereavement or public official business.
They said the reason for her absenteeism will be available once it has been confirmed and after the session has officially ended.
Some of the constituents in Calgary-Elbow said they were not impressed.
“We were affected by the flood. A number of us have sent concerns, questions, queries, which have gone unanswered. We are not exactly happy about it,” Karen Jorgenson explained.
“We are so concerned about what is going to be happening this spring and she is not there for us.”
Jorgenson said she was a supporter of Redford, even after the politician left the top job.
“I thought well perhaps she will spend more time looking after us in Elbow Park but that hasn’t happened.”
Former deputy premier, Thomas Lukaszuk said he has not spoken to Redford for months but that unless she was not well enough she should return to her job.
“My constituents have a very clear expectation of me I imagine and that’s to show up at work every day. That's what taxpayers pay me for. If there was a serious health or personal issue I think my constituents would be very understanding of that like anybody else would but, in the absence of that, I think the expectation is clear.”
However, current premier, Dave Hancock, said it was a private matter.
“It’s not really for one MLA to tell another MLA how to do their job. When it comes to the session, it's between and MLA and the speaker,” he told media on Friday.
One political analyst said the backlash could hurt the PC Party.
“It's as they're trying to move forward, as they're trying to forge an identity away from her, she keeps creeping back into the media cycle, which is going to create problems for the party,” Robert Murray said.
“Optics are terrible, primarily because we don't really know what it is that she petitioned for to take the leave the speaker granted,” he added.
Calls to Redford’s constituency and legislative offices have not been returned.
With files from Sarah Richter, Janet Dirks, Bill Fortier