The United Conservative Caucus Chair Nathan Neudorf has officially welcomed back AB MLA Pat Rehn. The representative is once again a member of the government caucus.
Over the course of his time in office, Rehn has lost the trust of many Albertans, including his local riding of Lesser Slave Lake. After letters from several municipalities and the Lesser Slave Lake Constituency Association outlined requests that Rehn be allowed to rejoin the caucus, the United Conservative Caucus voted on July 14th, 2021, to allow the MLA to return to his work.
A media release from the UCC stated that since his removal from caucus, Rehn has “worked tirelessly to rebuild trust with local families, businesses, elected officials, and Indigenous leaders.” Rehn represents the electoral district of Lesser Slave Lake which includes the towns of High Prairie and Slave Lake, Municipal District of Opportunity No. 17, Bigstone Cree Nation, and several other First Nation bands and communities.
Many members of the community lost faith in the MLA after several instances over the past year. During the Christmas holidays, the politician took a trip to Mexico after the country’s top health officials recommended against travel. The anti-travel regulations were in place to help stop the spread of the Covid-19 virus. Rehn, however, felt that his vacation took priority above those rules. He stated: “I apologize for the fact that I recently took a previously planned family trip following a busy legislative session.”
After the incident, some called for his professional termination. A petition on Change.org gained over a thousand signatures from people calling for the MLA’s dismissal. At the time, city council members and community leaders also spoke up on Rehn’s inability to get small-town issues heard on the larger stage, leaving many requests unresolved. Tyler Warman, Mayor of Slave Lake, said: “If you’re not going to do it, let someone else do it.” Robin Guild of the Wabasca-Desmarais area stated, “We go to great lengths to try to see our community protected. It’s sad to see a government official pull a stunt like this….”
Premier Jason Kenney proceeded to strip Rehn, along with other members who engaged in pandemic travel, of his legislature committee responsibilities.
Now, back in the legislative saddle, Rehn stated: “The past six months have been eye-opening to me, as I worked to regain the trust and confidence of my constituents. It was clear that I was not living up to expectations in representing Lesser Slave Lake, and for that, I am sorry. I am humbled that people are willing to give me a second chance, and I will not let them down. I am a conservative and I joined politics to put the NDP’s devastating experiments out to pasture and to restore the Alberta Advantage for all. I thank my government colleagues and look forward to the days ahead.”
Nathan Neudorf added: “Pat has been doing an incredible amount of work to rebuild trust and get things done in his constituency. He has learned to apply the skills that made him so successful in business to his job as MLA, and he has reminded all of us why he was elected in the first place. As our government shifts focus to the economic recovery, Pat will be a strong asset, not only for his riding but for our entire United Conservative Caucus team.”