Alberta Premier Dave Hancock stepping down from legislature
Announcement comes ahead of swearing-in of premier-designate Jim Prentice Monday
Dave Hancock resigned as the MLA for Edmonton-Whitemud during his last news conference as Alberta premier this morning.
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Hancock was emotional as he spoke at Government House in Edmonton.
With his wife Janet at his side, Hancock choked back tears as he spoke about how families are affected by life in the public eye.
"Very few people understand the toll that politics takes on families," he said as his wife placed her hand on his shoulder. "It's a consuming job, and finding that balance between family and province is probably the most challenging task."
The Progressive Conservative caucus named Hancock interim premier and party leader after Alison Redford resigned in March.
Hancock's time in the province’s top political job will end when new PC leader Jim Prentice is sworn-in on Monday.
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He told reporters that he hasn't yet submitted his resignation letter but expects the seat will be vacated in time for the byelections expected to take place this fall.
"On behalf of Progressive Conservatives and all Albertans, I would like to thank Premier Hancock and his wife Janet for their enormous contributions to our province throughout their time in public life," said premier-designate Jim Prentice in a statement.
"I have always admired the premier’s extensive understanding of public policy, and his passion for issues like education and children’s literacy which have bettered our province."
According to Derek Fildebrandt with Canadian Taxpayers Federation, Hancock will get a $714,000 transition allowance. He says that number is based on Hancock's salary and years of service.
A lawyer and longtime PC party member, Hancock was first elected in 1997. He served in cabinet in eight different portfolios under premiers Ralph Klein, Ed Stelmach and Alison Redford.
One of those roles included education minister. The Alberta Teachers' Association said in a statement that Hancock had a continuing interest and commitment to public education at all levels.
“Whenever I met Dave, he was wearing on his lapel a 'Children First' pin," said ATA president Mark Ramsankar in the release. “For him this was more than a slogan, but a life commitment. On behalf of Alberta’s 36,000 teachers, I want to extend to the Honourable Dave Hancock our thanks for his service and our best wishes as he moves on to new challenges.”
Hancock also served as House Leader during most of his time in the legislature. He paid tribute to PC caucus members as well as MLAs from opposition parties.
"I've worked with some really great people from all parties and from all caucuses who want to do the best thing for Alberta," he said. "And I would hope that as we go forward we can continue to honour and respect service and the people who provide service because it's not an easy job."
In a statement, Opposition Wildrose leader Danielle Smith wished Hancock and his family well.
“While we have shared no shortage of disagreements in our day-to-day battles in the legislature, there is no question that Premier Hancock has shown a strong dedication to our province with his passion towards public service," she said.
"Mr. Hancock leaves office with a well-deserved reputation as a top-notch parliamentarian, hard-working local representative, and dedicated family man."
Hancock's resignation from Edmonton-Whitemud leaves a seat open for former Edmonton mayor Stephen Mandel.
There is much speculation that Mandel, a member of Jim Prentice's transition team, will be one of the people named to cabinet on Monday.