During 3½ years of managing Lesser Slave Lake MLA Pat Rehn’s constituency office, Martine Carifelle learned a thing or two.
One thing was an idea of how the system works. Another was what constituents want and think. Yet another was what good political representation should look like.
Put all that together, and it adds up to a person with a mission to become the United Conservative Party candidate for Lesser Slave Lake in the next provincial election.
“The last three years I spent advocating for people in Lesser Slave Lake,” Carifelle says, adding that she came to believe people were not getting the representation they deserved. She tried to fill in as best she could and that her role allowed, “and I believe I’ve shown the people I can get that done. I have an understanding of how it works.”
Carifelle was telling people as early as June of this year she planned on running for the UCP nomination, but made no public announcements. It wasn’t until she resigned as Rehn’s assistant in mid-September that she turned it up a few notches (as reported in last week’s Leader). Lately she’s been campaigning more or less full time, even though the official nomination period dates have yet to be announced. The Lesser Slave Lake UCP constituency association president thinks that will likely be in December of this year.
“I’ve been door-knocking,” Carifelle says, “speaking to local people.”
She’s also been reaching out to local governments – municipalities, First Nations and Metis Settlements – to set up meetings.
“I will be speaking to everyone,” she says.
Asked why she chose the UCP, Carifelle says she likes where the party is heading, with debt reduction and so on. Another thing she likes is the party’s stance with regard to working with First Nations and Metis Settlements in developing oil and gas resources.
“Everything about the UCP resonates for me,” she says.
Carifelle perhaps has a special interest in First Nations because she lives on one.
“I’m married to an Indigenous person,” she says. They have four children, ranging in age from 14 – 19 and live on the Swan River First Nation, near Kinuso.
Carifelle was born in Slave Lake and has lived 33 of her 40 years in the area. She spent seven of her childhood years living in her mother’s home town in the Tracadie area of New Brunswick, immersed in the Acadian culture.
“I’m fully bilingual,” she says.
After graduating from Roland Michener high school, Carifelle studied to be a health care aide at Northern Lakes College. She was a stay-at-home mom for 14 years, after which she worked in the health care field for four years, prior to taking the job in the MLA’s office.
“I loved working with seniors,” she says.
Although – as noted – the campaign for the UCP nomination has not officially begun, expect to see plenty of Carifelle out and about as she seeks to raise her profile around the Lesser Slave constituency.
“I just want to hit the ground running and get stuff done,” she says.
Do you know who was doing the cheating in the candidate election? If they cheated on the candidate election what about the leadership election? I would like the numbers to see for myself.