cbc.ca (© Copyright: (C) Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, http://www.cbc.ca/aboutcbc/discover/termsofuse.html#Rss)
Updated: Thu, 20 Mar 2014 19:47:56 GMT | By CBC News, cbc.ca

Dave Hancock to be interim Alberta premier



Alberta Premier Alison Redford, second from left, attends a meeting of the provincial PC Party executive with PC Party president Jim McCormick, centre, and deputy premier Dave Hancock, left, in Calgary, Alta., Saturday, March 15, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh The Canadian Press

Alberta Premier Alison Redford, second from left, attends a meeting of the provincial PC Party executive with PC Party president Jim McCormick, centre, and deputy premier Dave Hancock, left, in Calgary, Alta., Saturday, March 15, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh The Canadian Press

Alberta's Deputy Premier Dave Hancock will be interim premier once Alison Redford's resignation takes effect Sunday.

The long-time Edmonton MLA will hold the province's top job until the Progressive Conservative Party selects a new leader sometime within the next six months. 

Hancock, 58, was selected leader of the party at a Tory caucus meeting Thursday morning.

Hancock has been Redford's closest supporter over the last four weeks, rising to her defence in the face of party and public criticism.

"Caucus has come together very well," he said. "Caucus understands they have a job to do and that is to provide good solid government."

He said his role will be to ensure the government gets back to its agenda and passes this year's budget, the first surplus budget in more than six years.

PC Alberta president Jim McCormick congratulated Hancock.

"Dave has been a stalwart in the PC Party since his arrival, and he brings a nearly unmatched level of expertise from all areas of the government.

“He’s an excellent choice as our interim premier, and I look forward to seeing where he will lead this province.”

The change is not enough to entice Calgary MLA Donna Kennedy-Glans back to caucus.  

"Right now I'm going to stay as an independent," said the former associate cabinet minister who left the caucus Monday.

"I made the choice to cross the floor based on input from my constituents.  And I would only make the choice to go back to the Conservative party with that direction from my constituents."

Kennedy-Glans said she'll spend the upcoming two-week break talking to people in her community. 

As for the impending leadership race, Hancock said he will not be one of the challengers.

Gary Mar, the former cabinet minister in Ralph Klein's government who won the most first ballot votes in the last leadership race, has confirmed to CBC News that he won't run for leader this time.  

Mar is Alberta's trade representative in Hong Kong. He said in a statement that he is honoured to serve in that position and Alberta exports to the region have significantly increased since he started. 

Redford announced her resignation on Wednesday after months of caucus turmoil and public agitation over her travel expenses. 

more video