The Canadian Press
Date: Sunday Oct. 2, 2011 9:18 AM ET
EDMONTON — Alison Redford certainly took her own unique path to the top -- one that was equal parts tenacity, unconventionality and scorched earth.
She was born on March 7, 1965 -- a day before the first U.S. combat troops arrived in Vietnam. In Africa, Rhodesia was declaring its independence from Britain and renaming itself Zimbabwe, a country where Redford would later work to implement democratic reforms.
She was born in Kitimat, a coastal town in northern British Columbia, built in the 1950s by aluminum giant Alcan. Her father was an electrician and the family traveled the world going where the work was, even as far away as Borneo, in southeast Asia.
The family eventually landed in Calgary, where Redford grew up and attended Bishop Carroll High School. Redford truly is a child of the West: born in B.C., schooled in Calgary and then at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon where she earned a law degree.
After school she went right into conservative politics, working in the late 1980s in the office of then prime minister Brian Mulroney and also for secretary of external affairs Joe Clark.
By 1990, the 25 year-old was back in Calgary working as a lawyer, but later spent more than a decade travelling the world. Redford trotted to globe to countries suffering through chaos and despair, working to bring about judicial and democratic reforms.