Ex-premier Alison Redford to attend portrait unveiling, likely in spring
Dave Hancock's portrait unveiling ceremony to follow Redford's at an unspecified date
The image of former premier Alison Redford is expected to be immortalized on the walls of the Alberta legislature this spring — and Redford will be on hand for the unveiling.
"Former premier Redford has confirmed that she would like to attend the unveiling of her portrait, so the Speaker's office is currently working with her to co-ordinate a date for that," Cheryl Oates, spokeswoman for the premier's office, said Tuesday.
"Right now we're looking at the spring, although we haven't set a date yet."
Redford's official portrait and the artwork of her successor and fellow Progressive Conservative Dave Hancock have been sitting in climate-controlled storage for more than six months at the Alberta Foundation for the Arts.
Redford's portrait is oil on canvas by Calgary artist Liela Chan and cost $12,500.
Hancock's is oil on linen by Edmonton artist Tom Menczel at a cost of $12,046.
The former premiers got to choose their own artists.
Hancock's portrait unveiling ceremony will take place some time after Redford's at an unspecified date, said Oates.
The premier's office pays for and organizes the painting while the Speaker's office, which is in charge of the legislature building, is responsible for the unveiling ceremony.
Redford, Alberta's 14th premier, is now working with the Conference Board of Canada on an initiative to harmonize energy development with environmental protection.
She could not be reached for comment.
Out of the spotlight
The Calgary lawyer has avoided the public spotlight after she resigned as premier on March 19, 2014, one step ahead of a caucus revolt underpinned by a public scandal over exorbitant spending on herself and her inner circle.
Those bills to the taxpayer included preliminary construction on a high-end condo-style retreat for Redford on top of the government's Federal Building, about a block from the legislature.
Redford resigned as a member of the legislature soon after she quit as premier, but one of her controversies lives on.
Premier Rachel Notley's government called in an independent investigator last year to assess whether Redford, as justice minister, followed the rules when she picked a law consortium with ties to her ex-husband to handle a multibillion-dollar tobacco lawsuit on behalf of the province.
A 2013 ethics investigation cleared Redford.
Redford has refused in retirement to discuss details of what happened on her watch as premier except for broad statements such as "mistakes were made."
After Redford, Hancock was picked by the caucus to run the province until Jim Prentice won the party leadership to take over as premier on Sept. 15, 2014.
Prentice then called an early election for the spring of 2015 and lost to Notley and the NDP, bringing the curtain down on almost 44 consecutive years of PC government.
The premier portraits are hung chronologically around the third floor of the legislature framing the entrance to the premier's office.
The last portrait that went up was Redford's predecessor, Ed Stelmach, in December 2012 at a legislature ceremony presided over by Redford.