EDMONTON — A day after Slave Lake Town Council unanimously asked their local UCP MLA Pat Rehn to resign over missed meetings, a travel scandal and an alleged lack of effort – frustration is growing in the northern Alberta town at Rehn’s refusal to step aside.
“You are obviously not interested in the job and not passionate about this region,” Mayor Tyler Warman said Wednesday.
“We’re just hoping someone who is gets the chance to do the job,” he said.
Warman and all six town councillors signed the scathing grievance letter to Rehn and made it public Tuesday.
CTV News Edmonton travelled to Slave Lake – and found Rehn’s constituency office closed and empty Wednesday.
A UCP spokesperson confirmed Rehn is back in Alberta after travelling to Mexico for a vacation against government travel advisories, but an interview request with Rehn was denied.
An email to Rehn and a call to his office Tuesday were never returned.
The government instead pointed to Rehn’s Facebook statement – in which he takes responsibility for “poor choices” regarding travel – but defends his record and accuses Slave Lake politicians of trying to “sow political division.”
Rehn’s post attracted more than 1,000 comments in which some constituents defend him – but most commenters criticized his record and his travel decision while repeating calls for him to step down.
REACTION IN SLAVE LAKE
Devon Phelps, the owner of a local consignment store, applauded council’s letter and decision to make it public.
“Since the election, owning a business, we deal with the public every day. So we’ve had lots of people actually tell us they were dissatisfied with (Rehn) not being around.”
Being reprimanded by the premier for inappropriate travel hasn’t help Rehn’s credibility, but Phelps believes the MLA was losing support before then.
“(The travel revelations) didn’t surprise me at all. Honestly, hearing all the things before, seems like the kind of guy that’s just in it for himself,” he said.
On Wednesday a UCP spokesperson said the party is still planning to move forward with recall legislation – stating that the reported scrubbing of that part of the platform from the party’s website was actually just a technical issue, and not an effort to remove it.
Warman believes Rehn would have been recalled already if that legislation were in place.
Meanwhile – a petition calling for Rehn to resign is circulating online and had nearly 1000 signatures Wednesday evening.
Rehn won the seat in the 2019 Alberta election gaining 5,873 votes – defeating incumbent NDP MLA Danielle Larivee who received 3,767 votes.
With files from CTV News Edmonton’s Nicole Weisberg
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