Kenney crumbles, cans minister who was doing a good job

Our first reaction to the accusation that Lesser Slave MLA Pat Rehn had vacationed in Mexico was, ‘So what?’

Why should we care where he spends his holidays?

Oops. Apparently a lot of people did care and do care. They made their anger and disappointment known over the following few days. After first saying he wasn’t going to do anything about it, Premier Jason Kenney was singing a different tune on the first Monday of 2021. Minister of Municipal Affairs Tracy Allard lost her job. MLA Rehn was stripped of his committee appointments.

Back to square one for both of them, whatever that may mean.
The talk around the office about Mr. Rehn was along the lines of: ‘what legislature committee responsibilities?’ We’ll have to accept he had some, and now he doesn’t. Some elected people (Peace River-Westlock MP Arnold Viersen is a pretty good example) make sure we know what he is doing and talking about and studying and advocating for in Ottawa. If he’s on a committee, news of it comes in a printed update he mails out. Mr. Rehn’s activities have been much less clear, and his presence in the constituency, or lack of it, a continuing sore point with many people. He doesn’t live here, people are saying; he doesn’t spend much time here. He’s hard to get hold of and to top it off, he jets off to the tropics when the rest of us are being advised not to.

Bad timing, bad optics, etc.

To give Rehn his due, there’s every reason to believe he lobbied hard for resurfacing of Hwy. 2. He wasn’t the only one doing that – municipal leaders have been relentless on the topic. But he did it and it produced some results. He can do that and presumably much else without being physically present. Nor should we expect him to be, particularly during a pandemic.
Speaking of which, should anyone be vacationing abroad in a pandemic? Probably not and especially not if you are part of a government that is telling people to stay at home.

People are frustrated and like frustrated people the world over and throughout history, they overreact. Allard’s Hawaiian vacation does not make her a bad Minister of Municipal Affairs. In fact, just a couple of weeks ago reeve Murray Kerik of the M.D. of Lesser Slave River was telling us he likes what he’s seen from her in that role. She was listening to municipalities, and seemed likely to get them a better deal on the linear assessment issue. Was anybody thinking of that when they were howling for blood last week?

Anyway, for better or worse (probably some of both) Kenney has buckled. The public shaming monster has an insatiable appetite and takes no prisoners.

Share this post

Post Comment