No decision yet on his own candidacy
Lesser Slave Lake MLA Pat Rehn has joined the Danielle Smith campaign for United Conservative Party Leader. Initially a supporter of Travis Toews for the party leadership, Rehn recently spoke out in favour of Smith, calling her “the next Premier of Alberta.”
Rehn told The Leader last week his change of heart came about through hearing what people were saying about the leadership candidates. Although he considers Toews “a good man” (as he said in his video on Twitter announcing his change in allegiance), people who are unhappy with the Jason Kenney government think Toews is too closely linked with the Premier.
A Toews government “would be like a Jason Kenney 3.0,” he said.
The more people he talked to, Rehn told The Leader, the more he found were “interested in Danielle Smith.”
He said he spent time looking into the positions of all seven candidates, and found Smith “clearly the best. So I called her up.”
The result of that conversation is Rehn is now offering his support to Smith. This includes accompanying her in a swing through Lesser Slave Lake last week. Smith made speeches in Wabasca (morning), Slave Lake (afternoon) and High Prairie (evening) on Aug. 4. Rehn is urging his constituents to buy party memberships by the Aug. 12 deadline, without which they can’t vote for the UCP leader.
“I encourage everyone who’s interested to pay the $10 fee,” he said. “Go to daniellesmith.ca.”
The voting for UCP leader will take place via mail-in ballot, sometime in September, Rehn said. The announcement of the winner is expected on Oct. 6.
As for his own plans for running again for the UCP nomination in Lesser Slave Lake, Rehn said he hasn’t made up his mind whether to seek re-nomination as the UCP candidate in the next provincial election.
“I’ll decide after the leadership race,” he said.
No date has been set for the party’s Lesser Slave Lake nomination, but the constituency association hopes it will be sometime this fall.