Editorial – Apology required but unlikely

Chris Clegg

The United Conservative Party owns an apology to Lesser Slave Lake constituency municipal governments.

In their July 14 news release announcing MLA Pat Rehn’s reinstatement to the party to media outlets in Alberta, they wrote letters of support for Rehn came from “several municipalities.”

The statement is false. No other way to put it. The Town of Slave Lake, Town of High Prairie, M.D. of Lesser Slave River, Big Lakes County and Northern Sunrise County, all deny they wrote letters of support.

“We stay out of it,” says M.D. of Lesser Slave River Reeve Murray Kerik.

“It’s an in-party thing.”

Kerik is 100 per cent right and for the UCP to give Albertans the illusion that area municipalities supported Rehn’s reinstatement is absolutely false, and totally misrepresents them.

After repeatedly pressing for an explanation, the UCP has since admitted no such letters of support exist.

But they have not apologized.

Tim Gerwing, director of communications, United Conservative Party caucus, later stated the news release should have read “municipal representatives” instead of “several municipalities.” Big mistake.

From another source, a list of Rehn’s supporters was provided naming several people which included their names as municipal councillors.

This is again a misrepresentation of the said council members. They have every right to attend UCP meetings as private citizens but do not have the permission of their respective councils to represent the corporate entity.

The UCP should know this and should not use the fact these members are councillors to strengthen the argument for Rehn’s reinstatement. If you believe it, let Rehn’s improved job performance stand on its own merits.

It is a fine line to tow for councillors who want to put their hand in more than one cookie jar by representing two different governments. For that reason, Ann Stewart is to be credited for making no reference to the fact she is a Big Lakes County councillor in her letter of support.

Municipalities do not like being misrepresented. So, what do they do with the latest UCP boondoggle?

Fact is, they sort of have to turn the other cheek. There is no use raising the issue. It would be like the chihuahua taking on the Doberman. It tends to not end well for the chihuahua.

So, why raise the issue? Lesser Slave Lake constituents have every right to know when the party is less than honest. A ruling party, nonetheless. Citizens should demand their government be honest.

As for Rehn himself, controversy seems to follow him around, no matter if it’s his fault nor not.

It might be crazy to think the UCP will apologize. The track record of Premier Jason Kenney’s arrogant government proves otherwise.

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