Pat Rehn

Pat Rehn is a Canadian politician who was elected in the 2019 Alberta general election to represent the electoral district of Lesser Slave Lake in the 30th Alberta Legislature.[1][2] Elected as a member of the United Conservative Party, he was removed from caucus and banned from running for the party after a history of alleged poor representation of his constituency and ignoring public health advisories against non-essential international travel during the COVID-19 pandemic in Alberta.

Pat Rehn

Member of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta for Lesser Slave Lake
Assumed office
April 16, 2019
Preceded byDanielle Larivee
Personal details
Political partyIndependent
Other political
affiliations
United Conservative Party (until 2021)
OccupationBusinessman

Travel ControversyEdit

In December 2020, Rehn travelled to Xplor Park in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico for the holidays contrary to provincial public health advice to avoid non-essential travel during the COVID-19 pandemic in Alberta.[3] Premier Jason Kenney demoted Rehn from his legislative committee duties as a result.[4]

On January 5, 2021, the Slave Lake Town Council wrote an open letter to Rehn demanding his resignation from the Legislative Assembly of Alberta. The letter alleged Rehn, among other reasons listed, no longer lived in the constituency, cared more about his business interests in Texas, and frequently missed or was ill-prepared for meetings between provincial and local officials and therefore failed to adequately represent the community or its residents.[5][6] In response, Rehn accused the council of sowing political division, acknowledged that his holiday travel decisions were poor, defended his local connections citing prior work history and current home ownership, and defended visiting Texas multiple times in the past year to handle "essential business matters". Rehn did not address the allegations about missing government meetings about local issues.[5]

On January 13, the High Prairie town council signed a letter to Rehn and Kenney criticizing Rehn's lack of presence in his riding and demanding Rehn improve his local representation.[7] The same day, Big Lakes County town council discussed Rehn's conduct at a closed door meeting.[8] In the same week, Rehn's expense claims for the first two quarters of 2020 became public, and showed that he spent little time in his constituency, claiming meal per diems in Edmonton for all but two days in May when the legislature only sat for five days because of the pandemic, most days in June, and all of July.[9]

On January 14, 2021 Kenney announced that Rehn had been removed from the UCP caucus and would sit as an independent, saying that Rehn "has made no meaningful effort to work in his constituency, or properly to represent his hard-working constituents" and had ignored previous internal calls to improve his local representation.[9] Rehn was also barred from running for any future UCP nominations.[9]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Pat Rehn wins UC Party nomination". Southpeacenews.com. 2018-11-27. Retrieved 2019-04-17.
  2. ^ Jason Stuart. "UCP candidate Pat Rehn ready for public service". Lakeside Leader. Retrieved 2019-04-17.
  3. ^ Grummett, Dan (December 31, 2020). "Facebook photos show Alberta UCP MLA spent Christmas in Mexico". CTV News. Retrieved December 31, 2020.
  4. ^ "7 Alberta cabinet ministers, MLAs, staff resign after holiday travels: Kenney". Coast Mountain News. 2021-01-04. Retrieved 2021-01-04.
  5. ^ a b Bellefontaine, Michelle (January 5, 2020). "Slave Lake mayor, councillors call on MLA Pat Rehn to resign". CBC News. Retrieved January 5, 2020.
  6. ^ Slave Lake Town Council. "Letter to MLA Pat Rehn of Lesser Slave Lake". Town of Slave Lake. Retrieved 2021-01-05.
  7. ^ Verster, Liam (January 13, 2021). "Town of High Prairie demands more accountability, representation in letter to MLA Rehn". Everything Grande Prairie!. Retrieved January 14, 2021.
  8. ^ Bellefontaine, Michelle (January 12, 2021). "High Prairie to send letter to MLA Pat Rehn over alleged absenteeism". CBC News. Retrieved January 14, 2021.
  9. ^ a b c Snowdon, Wallis; Bellefontaine, Michelle (January 14, 2021). "Lesser Slave Lake MLA Pat Rehn ousted from UCP caucus, forced to sit as independent". CBC News. Retrieved January 14, 2021.