Alison Redford gets work plan from PC Party after 'brutal' talks
Premier says no one asked her to resign during meeting with party executives
The top brass of Alberta's Progressive Conservative Party are setting out a work plan for Premier Alison Redford after a tough meeting.
There are no details yet about what the plan will entail.
Saturday's gathering of PC executives and the premier was not open to the media but those who were there say she did get a standing ovation from the party's executives following a "full and frank" discussion that was at times "brutal" for the premier.
"Lots of perspectives on how I can continue to do my job as leader of the party," Redford said after the meeting. "That's fine. I learn every single day."
According to PC president Jim McCormick, Redford faced wide-ranging and hard-hitting questions during the meeting.
It followed a tumultuous week where one MLA quit the Tory caucus and a riding association president called for her resignation.
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Redford told reporters shortly before entering the meeting that it was just business as usual, but one of the party's executive members said the premier and the party had some serious family issues to talk through.
"We're a family and I think we maybe have to do some serious talking, as families always do. But I think ... let's leave all the peripheral damage alone and let's keep going forward together," said Pat Palechuk, an executive member of the party's Smoky Lake riding association.
She hoped Saturday's meeting will give the party a chance to meld together again despite recent complaints against the premier.
Many of the complaints have stemmed from the costs surrounding her $45,000 trip to South Africa to attend Nelson Mandela's memorial.
Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil spent less than $1,000 to make the same trip.
Redford has also been under pressure for her use of Alberta government aircraft on several other occasions.
Although she did repay the money this week — after weeks of refusing to do so — it's expected the trip will be one of the concerns highlighted by party executives at today's meeting, said PC Party president Jim McCormick.
It had been rumoured several of her MLAs were ready to leave caucus over the issue.
Len Webber abandoned the party to sit as an independent on Thursday after claiming he received continued angry feedback from his constituents in Calgary-Foothills over Redford's "abuse of government aircraft and abuse of our taxpaying dollars."
"I cannot put up with it for any longer," Webber said.
Steve Robson, the president of a PC riding association in Edmonton, called for Redford to resign Friday. He said her leadership put the party's chances of winning the next election at risk.
"Her leadership has slammed the door from all the people that got the party to where it is," he said. "I don't like what I see going forward for the PC's chance with Alison as the leader. So the longer that they stick with her, the tougher it's going to be at the next election for them to come out victorious."
Palechuk said she disagrees with Robson on this point and sees Redford as a strong leader for the party, despite some challenges along the way.
"I think she has to remember who she came to the dance with and keep on dancing with us," Palechuk said.
The party does not have any constitutional mechanism to remove Redford from her position if it had wished to do so.
There was a leadership review but she passed that test with a 77 per cent approval rating.