In a speech that preceded a vote on her leadership, Premier Alison Redford told delegates at the Progressive Conservative convention in Red Deer on Friday that she is looking ahead to the next provincial election in 2016.
“I give you my commitment that our team of Progressive Conservative candidates will build on our party’s legacy of success," she said.
"Our province has been well served by successive Progressive Conservative governments since the days of Peter Lougheed because our party has time and time again that we can lead in changing times.
"We can. We will and we do."
Redford also used her speech to talk about how her government is building and modernizing schools, opening family care clinics and holding spending while dealing with the effects of the so-called "Bitumen Bubble."
Pipelines and energy were also a theme. Redford brought up the new framework agreement on pipelines reached with B.C. Premier Christy Clark as well as work on the east-west pipeline with New Brunswick Premier David Alward.
She also commended Albertans for how they pulled together during the floods in southern Alberta earlier this year.
Party as family
Redford name-checked a number of delegates and thanked the members of her “candidate team” from the 2012 election who stood behind her on the stage.
“Our party truly is a family,” she said. “We stick together through thick and thin … I have had the privilege of growing within this ‘family’ and for that I am truly, truly grateful.”
After Redford wrapped up her speech just before 9 p.m., voting opened up on her leadership. Results will be announced around 3 p.m. Saturday.
Observers believe it is unlikely that delegates will vote to find a new leader even if they dislike Redford.
“The vast majority of them are going to realize they're really doing damage to their party if they vote against the premier,” said MacEwan University political science professor John Soroski.
“So I think even those who are not particularly happy will hold their nose and give a thumbs up to the premier because really if you don't, you're sort of creating really a strategic disadvantage for yourself going forward.”
Soroski says Tories who are frustrated with Redford or the direction of the party have likely left and joined the Wildrose.