UCP claim unfounded

MLA Pat Rehn

Municipalities did not support MLA Rehn’s reinstatement

Chris Clegg
South Peace News

Recently reinstated Lesser Slave Lake MLA Pat Rehn did not receive any letters of support from Lesser Slave Lake municipalities as the party claims.

United Conservative Party caucus chair Nathan Neudorf made the announcement July 14 and claimed in part that letters of support for Rehn came from “several municipalities.”

However, 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.”

Requests of copies of the alleged letters of support to Tim Gerwing, director of communications, United Conservative Party caucus, were not provided despite repeated requests, and promises in the news release the letters would be made available upon request.

Gerwing later stated the news release should have read “municipal representatives” instead of “several municipalities” which all but publicly admitted the previous statement was not true.

The news release was sent to media outlets throughout Alberta. At press time, a clarification was not issued to media outlets.

A list of supporters for Rehn’s reinstatement was leaked to the press from a different source. The list includes several local politicians that the UCP identifies as politicians including:

  • M.D. of Opportunity Reeve Marcell Auger, and deputy reeve Everett Gottfried;
  • Big Lakes County Reeve Ken Matthews, and councillors Richard Simard, Ken Killeen, and Ann Stewart.
  • Town of High Prairie Councillor Brian Gilroy.

The list includes no letters from Town of Slave Lake or M.D. of Lesser Slave River council members.

While each council member is permitted to attend UCP meetings and support Rehn as private citizens, they did not have permission to support Rehn as members representing their respective councils. Stewart made that clear in her letter as she did not reference being a councillor but only as a UCP board member.

However, Gilroy, who wrote his letter on Church of the Nazarene letterhead, wrote he was a director in the UCP Constituency Association, but later added, “I am also a councillor for the Town of High Prairie. . .”

Gilroy has since resigned from the UCP board and says he did not write the letter as a councillor.

Gerwing later said in an email that letters from Matthews and Killeen did not exist.

“As I understand it from MLA Rehn, Matthews and Killeen did not send letters, but support his reinstatement in the government caucus.”

NDP Opposition Leader Rachel Notley responded to the news July 22 calling it a continued “pattern of dishonesty” from the UCP and that Rehn’s reinstatement came at any cost to Premier Jason Kenney as he attempts to hold onto power within his party.

Notley cites Rehn’s past poor job performance and disregard for COVID protocol [Christmas vacation to Mexico] as reasons he should not have been reinstated.

“The people of Lesser Slave Lake have been sacrificed for [Kenney’s] personal agenda ahead of the voters,” says Notley.

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