Joe McWilliams and Chris Clegg
Residents and businesses in the Lesser Slave Lake constituency have another person to turn to for help.
Peace River MLA Dan Williams says he is available to help and give people access to the governing UCP party.
Williams delivered the message during an online meeting to executive members of several Peace area chambers of commerce on Jan. 19. Reached afterward to confirm his statement, Williams did so.
First, Williams made it clear that Pat Rehn is still the locally elected MLA. Rehn was dismissed from the UCP caucus Jan 15.
“I want to make sure there is a voice inside the government caucus,” says Williams.
“I’m happy to reach out to [citizens, businesses and organizations] and be ready to help. They can reach out to my office but they can still reach out to their MLA. I’ll do what I can as a member of the legislative caucus.”
Mayors and reeves from the constituency received similar assurances from Premier Jason Kenney on Jan. 20, in a conference call that included acting Minister of Municipal Affairs Ric McIver.
“They’re more or less telling us they aren’t going to leave us on our own,” says M.D. of Lesser Slave River Murray Kerik.
Lesser Slave Lake UCP Constituency Association President Ken Vanderwell says the association welcomes MLA Williams’ help and is also encouraged to hear about the Premier reaching out.
As for the state of affairs regarding the expulsion of the current MLA from the UCP, Vanderwell says, “As a constituency we support the decisions the Premier made.”
Other than that, Vanderwell says, the task before the association now is start “the nomination process to find a new UCP candidate to run for the UCP in the next election.”
Williams’ contact number is  624-5400 in Peace River,  638-3019 in Edmonton, or e-mail [email protected]
Rehn can be contacted at  219-1000 in Slave Lake or  638-2818 in Edmonton, or e-mail [email protected]
If calling long distance, call 310-000 toll-free, then the area code and phone number to be connected for free.
It is unusual, to say the least, for Lesser Slave Lake to be represented by an MLA not in the governing party. The last time that happened was 1971 – ‘75, when SoCred Dennis Barton was the MLA.