Rehn won’t seek UCP nomination

MLA Pat Rehn

Chris Clegg

South Peace News

The Lesser Slave Lake constituency will have a new MLA after the next Alberta election expected this spring.

MLA Pat Rehn announced on his Facebook page Jan. 14 he was not seeking re-election.

“. . .I am also writing to inform everyone that with all considerations made, I shall not be seeking to renew my mandate as your member of the legislative assembly for Lesser Slave Lake in the upcoming provincial election.”

Rehn wrote being MLA has been the privilege of a lifetime.

Rehn was elected April 16, 2019 representing the United Conservative Party. He received 5,352 votes in defeating incumbent NDP MLA Danielle Larivee, who received 3,493 votes. Alberta Party candidate Vincent Rain received 355 votes, Independence candidate Suzette Powder 240 votes.

Controversy quickly swirled around Rehn when he took a trip to Mexico in December 2020 after his government urged everyone to stay home (avoid non-essential travel) during the COVID pandemic. Rehn apologized on his Facebook page Jan. 2.

Three days later on Jan. 5, Slave Lake town council demanded Rehn’s resignation saying they had “lost faith” in Rehn. Premier Jason Kenney removed Rehn from the UCP caucus Jan. 15. At the time, Kenney announced Rehn was barred from running for any future UCP nominations.

Rehn did better as his term progressed, spending more time in the constituency than before, but criticism over his absence still swirled despite the fact the pandemic made it more difficult to attend public gatherings and events.

Rehn was welcomed back into the UCP caucus July 14. The party cited Rehn’s “incredible amount of work to rebuild trust and get things done in his constituency” as reasons for his reinstatement.

“As I look forward to serving you until the expiration of my mandate, I also see eager individuals seeking to put their names forward to represent our constituency, and I have the utmost confidence that Lesser Slave Lake will continue to be excellently represented in our provincial assembly by a fresh voice who brings a unique perspective to representing the people of this lovely place,” Rehn wrote.

Two UCP candidates have come forward to date: Martine Carifelle and Scott Sinclair.

Larivee will again represent the NDP.

Rehn wrote the work of an MLA is not easy, but is proud the constituency is better off now then when first elected.

“While I do not intend to seek re-election, this does not mean my advocacy for the people of Lesser Slave Lake will end, nor will the dozens of friendships I’ve had the pleasure of making over my time in public life be forgotten. The people of Lesser Slave Lake have routinely been my inspiration throughout my time in politics with their words of encouragement and even sometimes criticism,” wrote Rehn.

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