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UCP member Pat Rehn says he won’t run in Alberta election in May

EDMONTON — A government backbencher in Alberta has announced he won’t seek another term when voters go to the polls in a provincewide election in May.

Pat Rehn, who has represented Lesser Slave Lake in the Legislature since the last general election in 2019, says in a letter to constituents that he reflected on his political career over the holidays and decided not to renew his mandate.

Rehn was kicked out of caucus in January 2021 after municipal leaders complained he was rarely in the constituency, missed meetings or wasn’t prepared for them, but he was readmitted following a caucus vote six months later.

He was also one of a half dozen UCP members of the legislature, including one cabinet minister, who went on international vacations during the pandemic, contrary to public health orders at the time that discouraged travel to help stem the spread of COVID-19.

Rehn says in his letter that his decision not to run doesn’t mean his advocacy for the people of Lesser Slave Lake will end.

He says he is “most proud of having always prioritized teamwork, goodwill, and collaboration” throughout his time as an MLA.

“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,” Rehn said in the letter.

“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.”

Former NDP cabinet minister Danielle Larivee held the seat before Rehn.

Following his readmission to caucus in July 2021, a UCP spokesman said the MLA had worked tirelessly to rebuild trust with his constituents after he was kicked out by former premier Jason Kenney.

Rehn said in a statement at the time that the six months he was out of caucus were “eye-opening,” that he was “humbled” people were willing to give him a second chance.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 14, 2023.

The Canadian Press