Alison Redford, lawyer, politician, 14th premier of Alberta 2011-14 (born 7 March 1965 in Kitimat, BC).
Alison Redford, lawyer, politician, 14th premier of Alberta from 2011 to present (born at Kitimat, BC, 7 Mar 1965). In her childhood, Alison Redford lived in Nova Scotia and Borneo before her parents chose to settle in Calgary when she was 12. Redford graduated from Bishop Carroll High School in Calgary, and completed a law degree at the University of Saskatchewan College of Law in 1988.
Redford has been active in provincial and Canadian politics since the 1980s. She served as Senior Policy Advisor to the Right Honourable Joe Clark, Secretary of State for External Affairs, and in the Office of the Prime Minister of Canada (1988 to 1990). While with the federal government, she organized a series of national consultations aimed at gathering public input on federal white papers concerning foreign affairs and defence.
Alison Redford's work with the Canadian government prepared her for her involvement in international projects. Throughout the 1990s, Redford worked as a technical advisor on constitutional and legal reform issues in various parts of Africa for the European Union, the Commonwealth Secretariat, the Canadian Government and the Government of Australia, specifically focused on human rights litigation, developing education programs and policy reform issues.
In 1999, she was employed as the communications officer on the Committee for Justice Reform for the Government of Alberta. This standing committee advised a program of reform where the criminalization of mental health issues and the ongoing plea bargaining system was criticized by organizations such as the Elizabeth Fry Society, a national body representing women convicted of crimes.
One of Redford's most notable appointments was by the Secretary-General of the United Nations, as one of four International Election Commissioners to administer Afghanistan's first parliamentary elections held in September 2005. She also served as an advisor to the Privy Council Office of Canada's future involvement in Afghanistan subsequent to these elections. On the international stage, Redford's work has included assignments in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Namibia, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and the Philippines. Before seeking election to office in Alberta, Redford managed a judicial training and legal reform project for the Ministry of Justice and the Supreme People's Court in Vietnam.
During the 2008 Alberta provincial election, Redford was elected as the Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) for the district of Calgary-Elbow. Furthermore, she was chosen to be the Minister of Justice and Attorney General by Premier Ed Stelmach. During her time as an MLA, Redford also served as a member of the Agenda and Priorities Committee, the Treasury Board, and the Cabinet Policy Committee on Public Safety and Services.
In 2011 Redford resigned from the Alberta Cabinet to devote herself to her campaign to succeed Premier Ed Stelmach as leader of the governing Progressive Conservative Party in Alberta, a race she won on 2 October 2011. Redford is currently the 14th premier of Alberta, and the province's first female premier. For the first time in Canada's history, four provinces or territories simultaneously had female premiers.
The following year (2012), as leader of the Provincial Progressive Conservatives, Redford called a provincial election. Political observers and members of media watched as Redford campaigned against the right-wing Wildrose Party and its leader Danielle Smith, and many thought that for the first time in over 40 years the Progressive Conservative Party would no longer win a clear majority. However, on 23 April 2012, Redford's party prevailed, winning 61 seats and becoming the 12th consecutive conservative majority government in the province's history. Redford became the fourth woman in Canada's history to lead a provincial party to victory in an election. (Others include Kathy Dunderdale, Pat Duncan and Catherine Callbeck).
On 23 March 2014, Redford resigned as Premier of Alberta after weeks of caucus unrest.
Throughout her career, Redford has been active in the community, serving on the boards of the Lycée Louis Pasteur Society, the Heritage Park Foundation, and the Calgary Winter Club.