Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi says Alison Redford's resignation as premier of Alberta is a sign of what is wrong with the political process.

Nenshi says while he disagrees with some of the things she did, Redford was trying to do good things for the province as leader.

"I want to remind people that this is also a human story," he said. 

"It's about a real person. A good person. A person who loves this province and has worked hard and made incredible sacrifices for this place. And it's the story of a system that takes somebody like that, chews them up and spits them out."

Nenshi says what happened to Redford is an example of why many people don't choose a life in politics.

'How did we end up here?'

"This is a horrible situation. How did we end up here?" said Nenshi.

"I think that's a question that we really have to ask ourselves. How did we end up in a place where a party and caucus — a bunch of unelected people, a bunch of people who meet only behind closed doors — make decisions about the future of this province. It's a system that's not working."

He would like to see more diversity in provincial politics. He says the governing party, which has been in power for more than 40 years, should be more transparent and needs to break out of its bad habit of making decisions behind closed doors. 

"Take a lesson from municipal government," said Nenshi.

"We have people sitting around our city council table of every possible political stripe. I say it ranges from Tea Party of Canada to Mother Earth will save us all.... But we still all have to sit together and come up with the right thing to do for the majority."

'I feel sick to my stomach'

Redford's former campaign adviser Stephen Carter says the premier needed to show more leadership.

"I feel sick to my stomach frankly," he said.

"A lot of it is her fault, but frankly her caucus wouldn't allow her to go where she needed to go."

Carter says Redford's announcement shows a complete failure of the Progressive Conservative Party. 

"The right-wing MLAs that still remain in this PC caucus were pulling her away constantly from the agenda that got her elected leader, and that's why she was unable to fulfill her mandate as leader," he said.

The premier's resignation comes at a time when the Alberta economy is strong and the government just passed a balanced budget.

Redford to stay on as MLA

"We saw a record number of people engaged in [the last] election and I'm thankful for the privilege of being elected on a mandate to build a better, a more modern and a more prosperous Alberta," said Redford in her resignation speech.

"Over the last two years, we've made incredible progress delivering a both progressive — and I underline that word — and a conservative change." 

Redford plans to stay on as the MLA for Calgary-Elbow.

Residents in her riding had mixed reactions to the surprise announcement.

"Oh my God, are you serious?" said Calgary student Jessica Truong.

Riding residents react

Derek Bley said he was shocked and disappointed.

"She's had her ups and downs and yet she was still our leader and leaders go through difficult times," he said.

"But I think she held herself well through it."

Heather Hansen said a lot of people seem to be leaving so she is not surprised.

"She hasn't been getting the best press lately," she said.

Redford said part of her decision to go was because too much time has been spent over the last few weeks on questions of loyalty, allegiances and character.

Decisions questioned

But others thought Redford was paying for some bad decisions.

"I think it's probably good," said Andrea Hunter. "She did sort of abuse the power with spending so much money at [Nelson Mandela's memorial]."

Redford's problems escalated last week when she announced she was paying back the entire $45,000 she spent on first-class tickets and a government plane to travel to South Africa for Nelson Mandela's memorial in December after weeks of refusing to do so.

Redford addressed the issue of travel expenses in her speech.

"I will never apologize for aggressively selling Alberta to the world, going wherever we needed to to find new customers and get fairer prices for our products," said Redford.