Redford changes mind on fall sitting

Premier-designate Alison Redford announced Tuesday that there will be a fall sitting of the Alberta legislature.
Alberta Premier-designate Alison Redford is flanked by Doug Horner and Mary Anne Jablonski, front right, following a meeting of Tory MLAs at Government House in Edmonton Tuesday. Redford announced that Horner, one of her leadership rivals, will serve as deputy premier in her government. (CBC)

Premier-designate Alison Redford reversed an earlier decision by announcing Tuesday that there will be a fall sitting of the Alberta legislature.

Redford made the announcement following her first meeting with the Progressive Conservative caucus since she won the party leadership on the weekend.

The new session starts Oct. 24. Earlier this week, Redford had come under sharp criticism by opposition members when she stated there would be no fall session. She told reporters she changed her mind after consulting with caucus.

"I wanted to ensure that I had the advice of caucus and that we were ready to go with setting that new agenda," she said.

"I believe that we are ready to do that — that caucus is fully committed to what we have decided to do as a party and as a government and I'm looking forward to setting that agenda in the fall."

The premier-designate was given a standing ovation by MLAs as she entered the caucus room at Government House in Edmonton. Afterwards, she made several announcements about some key appointments.

Leadership rival Doug Horner will remain deputy premier, a position he held under Premier Ed Stelmach. Education Minister Dave Hancock will remain house leader.

Stephen Carter, the political strategist who led Redford's successful leadership campaign, will become her chief of staff.

Redford will be sworn in on Friday. Cabinet ministers will be sworn in Oct. 12.

Scheduling conflicts will not allow her to represent Alberta at congressional hearings on the Keystone XL pipeline taking place Friday in Washington, D.C.