Edmonton

Time will provide 'clearer perspective' on her legacy, Redford says as portrait hung at legislature

After months of delay, the portrait of former Alberta premier Alison Redford was quietly hung in the legislature Thursday morning.

Former Alberta premier stepped down in March 2014

Alison Redford's portrait goes up at the Legislature

5 years ago
Duration 0:32
Without any ceremony, Alison Redford's portrait was hung in the Alberta Legislature along with the portraits of her predecessors. 0:32

After months of delays, the portrait of former Alberta premier Alison Redford was quietly hung in the legislature Thursday morning.

Redford, who resigned from office in March 2014 amid questions about her leadership and questionable spending on travel, asked not to have the typical dedication ceremony.

Instead, she issued a written statement through Speaker Bob Wanner.

"Every picture hanging in the legislature tells the story of the person in the portrait, shaped by Alberta's history at the time they served and the context in which that happened," Redford said. "While the temptation to paint their own pictures and tell their own stories will be hard for some to resist, I instead choose to leave the history of my time in office to be written when time has provided a clearer perspective.

"As the author Robert Morgan once said: 'Distance not only gives nostalgia, but perspective, and maybe objectivity.' "

Redford's portrait was painted by Calgary artist Liela Chan. 

Usually former premiers take part in a ceremony when their portraits are hung at the Alberta legislature. Redford didn't want to have a public event. (Kim Trynacity/CBC News)

As word filtered out that Redford's portrait was up, curiosity drew a crowd of MLAs and legislature staff.

Advanced Education Minister Marlin Schmidt gazed at the portrait, remarking that the whole situation "was really rather sad."

Environment Minister Shannon Phillips said the portrait was "very well done," but wouldn't venture into the subject of Redford's legacy or her tarnished reputation while in office. 

"She looks warm," said another person, remembering the day legislature staff poured out of their offices to watch Redford announce her resignation in the rotunda. 

Redford is facing a new conflict of interest investigation in the "tobaccogate" issue.

Following a review of the Alberta probe that cleared Redford in 2013 , the conflict of interest commissioner for British Columbia determined a new investigation was required based on information that had since been revealed by CBC News.

The allegations relate to a potentially lucrative tobacco-litigation contract Redford, a former justice minister, awarded to a legal consortium, with which she shared close personal and political ties.

Here is the full statement from former premier Alison Redford: 

"I want to genuinely thank my family, my friends and the people of Alberta for supporting me during my time in office serving Albertans. It was a unique honour and privilege that has changed my life, my understanding of myself, others, and of this beautiful province.

"I would like to particularly thank Leila Chan, a talented artist from Calgary and a generous person who was kind enough not only to do a beautiful job on this portrait but also to guide me through the journey of creating an image that tells a story. I would like to take this moment to honour our friend that introduced us, Sandra Durrant, who is no longer with us, but changed our lives forever.

"I have observed that, traditionally, those in political life are inclined to use events such as this unveiling to paint their own picture of how they want to be remembered and what they hope their legacy might be; I am choosing not to do that.

"Every picture hanging in the Legislature tells the story of the person in the portrait, shaped by Alberta's history at the time they served and the context in which that happened. While the temptation to paint their own pictures and tell their own stories will be hard for some to resist, I instead choose to leave the history of my time in office to be written when time has provided a clearer perspective.

"As the author Robert Morgan once said: "Distance not only gives nostalgia, but perspective, and maybe objectivity"."

Redford's portrait now hangs on the third floor of the legislature with the portraits of her predecessors. (Trevor Wilson/CBC)

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