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'Redford was an unbelievably unpopular premier': Pushback over former Alberta premier’s offer to help Liberals mend western division
EDMONTON -- Critics of former Alberta premier Alison Redford say her offer to help the Trudeau government repair Ottawa’s relationship with western Canada would only worsen the situation between the east and the west.
Since winning a minority government without a single Liberal seat in Alberta or Saskatchewan, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has vowed to work with the western provinces.
There’s speculation that he will appoint special advisors from the west to ensure representation in Ottawa, something Redford has expressed interest in.
In an interview with CTV’s Question Period on Saturday, Redford said she’s willing to take up an appointment to be a special advisor from the west to ensure representation in Ottawa, if offered by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
“I have not been asked, I am happy to help in any way,” said Redford.
“I think he (Trudeau) has a real passion for making sure that this can all work and if there's something I can do I'm happy to help.”
Some believe having Redford in the role would be a bad idea.
“Alison Redford was an unbelievably unpopular premier of the province and ultimately her leadership lead to the demise of the provincial conservatives,” said John Soroski, political science professor at MacEwan University.
“Unless the Trudeau government lacks any sense of strategic reality I think there’s no chance Alison Redford will fill that role.”
Laurie Hawn, who served as a Conservative Member of Parliament while Stephen Harper was prime minister, also pushed back on the idea of Redford being a voice for Alberta.
“I don't want this to sound personal but I don't think Alison Redford would be well received by Albertans as their representative to the Liberal government in Ottawa,” said Hawn.
Redford resigned as Alberta’s 14th premier in March 2014 amid several scandals and unrest in her party.
One person that Trudeau has mentioned recently by name is Calgary’s Mayor, Naheed Nenshi.
“To some extent Nenshi represents I think the kind of people who would have already been more likely to vote for the Trudeau government,” said Soroski.
“So whether he's a reasonable carrier of the interests of traditional conservative Albertans in a potential cabinet or advisory role, I think that's a more difficult question to answer.”
As Trudeau heads into a second term, and the first comprising of a minority government, Hawn says he needs to work with western premiers.
“We need to be prepared to work together to move forward because it's not going to help Alberta or Saskatchewan or anybody if we're continually at loggerheads and nothing gets done.”
With files from CTV News Edmonton’s Amanda Anderson