Alberta Premier Alison Redford says 2013 had difficult moments.
“Coming into my second year as premier, I guess I’d characterize it the way I expect the life of a premier to be,” she said.
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“Very unexpected events, such as the flood, were really difficult. Some of the issues we faced around revenues earlier in the year, some of the budget decisions we made — they weren’t easy decisions to make.”
But in an interview with the CBC’s Kim Trynacity, the premier said it is time to move on.
Redford said her priority is to ensure that Albertan families have peace of mind.
And that includes having a strong health-care system in the province.
“It’s not always going to be perfect, but it’s a publicly-funded health-care system and we’re providing incredible support to people across the province and sometimes even to people from other parts of the country.”
Following a year that included several dramatic staffing changes within Alberta Health Services as well as a cabinet shuffle, Redford defended her decision to maintain Fred Horne as health minister, saying he brought stability to the system and helped inform Albertans about the future of health care in Alberta.
“If you walk around communities now … people have a great sense of certainty about what’s going on in health care. There’s no longer this confusion about whether health care is being run by the board of Alberta Health Services or by the government of Alberta.”
Redford said the province is in the midst of community-wide health and home care “revolution.” But, she said, there is still work to be done.
“I’m concerned about home care and so is Fred [Horne] — and that’s why he’s launched this work into making sure that the home care contracts that are in place are meeting the needs of the people they need to serve.”
Ethics review findings
Redford also discussed a review by Alberta’s ethics commissioner.
Earlier this month, the premier was cleared of any conflict in the awarding of a multibillion-dollar tobacco litigation contract.
She said that review ended what she described as a very difficult time.
“It’s important for me personally that Albertans know, at the end of the day, that I didn’t breach any ethics, that I didn’t do anything that I shouldn’t have done, and I’m very pleased with the result of the report.”
Looking into 2014, Redford said she is optimistic about the future of the province.
It’s a future, she said, that could include the construction of the Keystone pipeline.
She said recent talks with American politicians are encouraging.
“We’re going to keep doing what we have done, which is tell Alberta’s story, to make sure that they know that we’re responsible developers of energy so that we can open those markets and get the best price that we can.”