Skip to main content

Dave Hancock, surrounded by his caucus team, made his first formal speech as premier to Progressive Conservative members at a party fundraiser in Edmonton on May 1, 2014.

DEAN BENNETT/THE CANADIAN PRESS

In his first speech to Progressive Conservative Party members as premier, Dave Hancock apologized to them for the mistakes of the Alison Redford era.

Without mentioning Redford by name, Hancock told about 1,300 party members Thursday that he was sorry the governing caucus lost touch with the grassroots.

"We took Albertans and your support for granted and acted in a way that's contrary to our values," Hancock said at the party's annual Edmonton fundraising dinner.

Story continues below advertisement

"I am truly sorry that we allowed government to become a distraction from the vital work that we're doing on issues that matter to Alberta.

"I am sorry that we damaged Albertans' confidence in our party.

"I apologize for losing touch with our grassroots, for not listening to you the way we should have. This behaviour is just not acceptable."

Redford, who remains an MLA for the Calgary-Elbow riding, was not at the dinner.

She has not been seen in the legislature since she resigned more than a month ago ahead of a caucus revolt over lavish spending and allegations of imperious behaviour.

Hancock said while the actions of caucus went off the rails, the core of its character is strong.

"There is a big difference between behaviour and character," he said. "Behaviour can be changed. Character is a different matter. We did get some things wrong, but we will demonstrate how we're changing through our policies, our practices and our legislation."

Story continues below advertisement

The race to pick a new leader is already underway, with a leader to be selected on Sept. 6, and if necessary, Sept. 20.

Calgary MLA Ken Hughes resigned as municipal affairs minister last month and has already announced he will run.

Former Calgary MP Jim Prentice has signalled through intermediaries that he will run, too, but has not made a formal announcement.

Prentice is scheduled to introduce Hancock on May 8 at the next leader's dinner in Calgary.

Other prospective leadership candidates include cabinet ministers Doug Horner, Ric McIver, Jonathan Denis, Thomas Lukaszuk and Diana McQueen.

The new leader will have work to do. The PCs, Alberta's governing party for more than four decades, are mired at the back end of recent polls, alongside the Liberals and the NDP.

Story continues below advertisement

The opposition Wildrose Party leads by a wide margin.

Without mentioning Wildrose by name, Hancock said the fiscally hawkish right-of centre party is blinkered by its own ideology.

"We're facing an opposition that believes that everything has a fixed price. An opposition that knows the price of everything and the value of nothing," he said.

Redford has not spoken publicly since her resignation.

She was forced out over reports of exorbitant spending, including using the government airplane for personal trips for herself, her daughter, and her daughter's friends.

Calgary MLA Len Webber quit the PC caucus shortly before Redford's resignation, saying she was abusive to subordinates.

Story continues below advertisement

Since her departure, the province released documents under freedom of information rules showing Redford had planned to use taxpayer dollars to build a penthouse suite for herself and her daughter on top of the government's Federal Building.

Thursday night's event highlighted the problem the party is having fitting Redford into its narrative.

While Redford's face was on a poster, along with other past leaders, outside the event, the short video played to introduce Hancock flashed pictures of past Tory premiers but not her.

Hancock later told reporters he didn't know why Redford wasn't included in the video.

"Alison Redford played a significant role for this province," he said. "I would've had her in the video."

Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Cannabis pro newsletter
To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies