On January 5, 2021, the Town of Slave Lake posted an open letter to MLA of Lesser Slave Lake, Pat Rehn, on their website asking for his resignation.
Letter to MLA Pat Rehn of Lesser Slave Lake
Dear MLA Rehn,
We are writing today to express our displeasure with your performance as MLA for Lesser Slave Lake and the lack of proper representation for our Region.
In the Provincial election almost two years ago, the majority of our residents put our faith and trust in you and elected you to represent our residents and advocate for the needs of this Region.
Although you didn’t have deep roots in the area, we understood that you had taken up residence in Slave Lake. Additionally, we understood that you had business interests abroad and outside this country but that you had put people in place to run your company so you could dedicate the time to represent this Region.
However, since the April 2019 election, it has become clear that the hard work that you put into campaigning for the position of MLA has not continued since being elected. We have several grievances with your performance, but here are a few listed below.
• Shortly after you were elected MLA, you decided to no longer reside in the constituency.
• Lack of time spent in the constituency engaging with residents and elected leaders. In fact, you have yet to even meet with some of the Region’s elected leaders.
• Since your election, you have spent more physical time managing your business in Texas than being physically present in our Region.
• Multiple missed meetings and lack of preparation for meetings that do happen.
• Missing a meeting with local leaders and the Justice Minister (regarding a spike in local crime) so that you could attend an oilfield expo in Fort McMurray for your business.
• Meetings that do happen are typically a “re-education” of the last meeting we had, as it is apparent that you do not read the material we send you.
• Missed a meeting with the Housing Minister for a $4 million housing project that has been years in the works, but again, you could not be bothered to show up on our behalf to help move the project forward. This meeting was scheduled by your government.
We seem to be making little to no progress in our Region in advocating for items that are a provincial responsibility. One of the factors that we believe is contributing heavily to this is the lack of engagement from you as our MLA. While we have had one success in the last two years (highway paving), this only came to fruition after our community organized a public advocacy campaign to get it done.
We have voiced our concerns to multiple members of your government, many of them Ministers who visited our community. Notably, however, you were once again absent from several of these meetings. We have been told that your government has internally expressed its displeasure at your performance and have arranged for neighbouring MLA’s to check in to help make sure our Region is represented.
What continues to be even more frustrating than trying to get you, our MLA, to spend time in this Region is we can’t even get you to stay in the country. When Covid-19 began and the Canadian government said Canadians need to get home, you were in the United States. Since that time, you have made multiple trips abroad. In fact, right now, as our businesses suffer and many of our people aren’t working, you still aren’t here.
In conclusion, we have an MLA that does not represent the people of this Region. This lack of representation can be directly attributed to the fact that you don’t reside here, spend little time here, and have failed to “know” the people you represent. The biggest fundamental issue is that you fail to recognize that you were elected to be our representative at the Provincial level, not be the Province’s representative to our Region.
It is no secret the people of this Region have lost faith in your ability to do your job. Previous to this letter, we have let your government know our grievances and even told you ourselves. Our Region needs an MLA that cares and wants to make the Region better; however, it is hard to this when you don’t call Lesser Slave Lake your home and don’t have the love and passion for the Region that those who actually live here do.
As such, we have lost faith that you have the ability and the desire to undertake the work which is required of an MLA. On behalf of the Town of Slave Lake and those we represent, we are asking for your resignation as MLA for the Lesser Slave Lake constituency.