Alberta Politics
Lesser Slave Lake United Conservative Party MLA Pat Rehn on his recent Mexican vacation (Photo: Facebook).

Expense claims show MLA who rarely visits his own riding spent almost every day in Edmonton for four months last year

Posted on January 14, 2021, 2:10 am
7 mins

Lots of Pat Rehn’s constituents may think the Lesser Slave Lake MLA is about as helpful as a screen door on a submarine, but it turns out the fellow’s been able to dine out on his exalted status just the same. 

Quite literally, it would seem. 

Researcher Tony Clark (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

Researcher Tony Clark recently dug into Mr. Rehn’s expense claims for 2020 and discovered that the MLA for the region about 225 kilometres northwest of Edmonton spent almost every day in the Alberta capital between the start of April and the end of July — “and he expensed nearly every meal.”

That would come to $4,713 in per diems. He wasn’t in Edmonton for only eight days during that period, his expense claims showed.

Municipal politicians and other constituents have been complaining bitterly that the United Conservative Party MLA – who recently got a tap on his wrist from Premier Jason Kenney for his mid-pandemic vacation in Mexico – almost never shows up in the riding and rarely talks to them. 

On Jan. 5, all seven members of the Slave Lake Town Council signed an open letter to Mr. Rehn expressing their displeasure with his protracted absence, complaining that he spends more time in Texas managing a business he owns there than he does in the riding. They asked him to resign. 

In a social media response to the councillors, the MLA accused them of “seizing on this to try to sow political division at this difficult time,” and vowed, “I will continue representing Lesser Slave Lake.”

Since then, councillors in High Prairie, another town in the rural riding, voted to send Mr. Rehn a letter of their own complaining about his lackadaisical performance. 

Former Lesser Slave Lake NDP MLA Danielle Larivee (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

Getting back to Mr. Clark’s discovery, he noted Mr. Rehn also received the maximum MLA housing allowance for a residence-away-from-home in the provincial capital last year, $1,930 per month. 

Danielle Larivee, former NDP MLA for the riding won by Mr. Rehn in the 2019 general election, noted on her Facebook page that “to add insult to injury, Pat Rehn claimed expenses for being in Edmonton … ‘for the purpose of carrying out duties as a Member.’ I know he was sitting in the House in the Legislature for some of those days, but what about the rest?”

The comments underneath Ms. Larivee’s Facebook post are illuminating, with interesting commentary by Slave Lake Town Councillor Rebecca King on her MLA’s hosting expenses and meal claims. 

Meanwhile, sorting through the produce with Miranda Rosin, MLA

Banff-Kananaskis UCP MLA Miranda Rosin (Photo David J. Climenhaga).

Speaking of food and UCP caucus members, Banff-Kananaskis MLA Miranda Rosin used a recent epistle to her constituents to lament how COVID-19 means “sorting through the produce to find a pure, unblemished fruit has become a novelty of the past.”

Ms. Rosin, something of a creative writer, also complained that “those who do not wear their masks quite properly or forget to hand sanitize upon entrance are sneered at with judgement by passersby,” and suggested the pandemic is making Albertans dependent on government in ways that Ronald Reagan, the late America president, would never approve of. 

Reading this, one might be tempted to conclude Ms. Rosin, who visited Saskatchewan over the holiday, doesn’t really approve of the restrictions so reluctantly imposed by her government to control the spread of COVID-19. 

Never let it be said there’s nothing useful to be found in UCP MLAs’ constituent handouts, however. Remember: Always wash any fruit you bring home from the grocery store before you take a bite. 

Hello, Joe, we’ve rigorously vetted your pipeline!

U.S. president-elect Joe Biden (Photo: Gage Skidmore, Creative Commons).

With only a week to go before Joe Biden is scheduled to be sworn in on the steps of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Republican riots permitting, the Alberta Energy War Room stands ready to remind the president-elect why he should put aside his promises and approve the Keystone XL Pipeline for our province’s somewhat ethical, only slightly Saudi-owned oil.

In addition to urging readers who stumble upon the War Room’s Support Canadian Energy microsite to take its “‘Say No to Foreign Oil – Say Yes to Canadian Oil’ Pledge,” the feisty communicators at what’s legally known as Canadian Energy Centre Ltd. have penned a wordy open letter to Mr. Biden saying we should all “stand together in opposition to tyrannical states that have dominated the global energy industry for far too long.”

Not sure how that “ethical oil” thing will go over in Washington, but one has the feeling this open letter had Alberta taxpayers as much in mind as the new president.

“The project also has financial backing from the Government of Alberta, based in part on rigorous vetting by outside industry experts to ensure the success of the project while minimizing risk to taxpayers,” it rather plaintively claims. 

Keep those experts in mind if Mr. Biden, a Democrat, keeps his promise and pulls the plug on KXL anyway, taking the $1.5 billion of Alberta taxpayers’ money that Premier Kenney has already pledged away down the pipeline to Texas. 

7 Comments to: Expense claims show MLA who rarely visits his own riding spent almost every day in Edmonton for four months last year

  1. Jerrymacgp

    January 14th, 2021

    “… tyrannical states that have dominated the global energy industry …” The way Kenney’s government is going, Alberta will be grouped among those tyrannical states before very long.

    Reply
  2. Bill Malcolm

    January 14th, 2021

    Don’t suppose Rehn will get any dressing-down whatsoever from kenney on padding expenses. kenney was the master at that himself until Andrew Scheer hove on the scene. I never did work out whether kenney pulled off exactly the same kind of manoeuvre as Mike Duffy, but of course suffered no consequence. By then, he’d already altered the Equalization Formula in Alberta’s favour in the 2008 revision and was a good little barking ankle-biting doggie for harper, and thus One of the Chosen. kenney’s scheme was to. you know, live in Ottawa full time and charge an apartment allowance to his expense account while improbably living in his parents’ basement somewhere in Alberta. God only knows if pop-in-jay expensed off his brekkie, lunch and dinner each day in Ottawa as well, but who’d be surprised if he did, even if he ate at some official function most of the time? What really does infuriate me as a Canadian taxpayer is that kenney took his salary as MP while careening around Alberta and neglecting his MP duties, while he backroom invented the UCP in his own soiled-garbage ideological and self-entitled image. I paid for this dude to stab Canada in the back, and I do not like it one bit.

    As for Rosin, all wet behind the ears and head full of vapid Con/UCP nonsense and sense of privilege, according to Wikipedia, she was born in 1994/95, a very special feat in and of itself. What she doesn’t know about Ronnie Raygun and the beginning of the neoliberal hand over your money to the rich era would fill the bed of kenney’s pickup truck to overflowing, considering she wan’t even born. She sounds like an entitled uneducated twit. But is there any UCP MLA that isn’t? It’s kind of their defining characteristic, woof, woof.

    Reply
  3. Public Servant

    January 14th, 2021

    How is this not fraud?

    Pat Rehn should resign, but UCP politicians and staff live in a world without ethics, accountability or shame.

    Reply
  4. Bob Raynard

    January 14th, 2021

    If you look at the UCP Caucus website, it appears the template used for each individual MLA’s page has an ‘in the community’ section for MLAs to post pictures of themselves doing MLAie things. Leela Aheer’s page has 15 photos of herself; Tracy Allard’s 16. Mr. Rehn’s page has only 3; one from Red Earth Creek and 2 from Wabasca in which Mr. Rehn appears to be wearing the same clothes, leaving me to wonder if both photos were taken on the same day. I’m surprised that Mr. Rehn hasn’t even bothered putting up a couple new photos since this issue came to light. On the Facebook post David linked to, Mr. Rehn mentions owning (at one point anyway) a sawmill in Wabasca, which makes me wonder if that is why Wabasca warrants photos.

    True to form, Drew Barnes’ page has no photos of himself; doing so would require him to be a team player.

    https://ucpcaucus.ca/pat-rehn/

    Reply
  5. Bob Raynard

    January 14th, 2021

    I really do wonder why Jason Kenney hasn’t kicked Pat Rehn out of caucus. In the scathing letter the Slave Lake town council wrote, they mention how UCP MLAs from adjacent ridings have been called in to cover for Mr. Rehn, so clearly the party brass is aware of the problem, and trying to work around it. I expect it is a foredrawn conclusion that Mr. Rehn will not have the UCP nomination for the riding in 2023.

    Reply
  6. Abs

    January 14th, 2021

    Ms. Rosin is right. Something is rotten. There’s hardly an unblemished fruit out there, and the personal shoppers at the grocery store aren’t very picky. Just wait until she gets to the potatoes, and finds they’re fit for the compost bin, not the feed trough.

    Reply
  7. Keith McClary

    January 14th, 2021

    They did not mention to Biden that they want to ban imports of oil to Canada, which mostly come from the US:
    https://www.nrcan.gc.ca/science-data/data-analysis/energy-data-analysis/energy-facts/crude-oil-facts/20064#L7

    This sort of logical contradiction is not unusual. In May Kenney was attacking China because of covid.
    “China’s diplomatic outpost in Calgary countered with a warning that Kenney may face his own ‘reckoning,’ suggesting ‘he will not look smarter’ in a comparison between the COVID-19 responses in Alberta and Wuhan.”
    https://edmonton.ctvnews.ca/chinese-consulate-blasts-premier-jason-kenney-for-covid-19-criticism-1.4943241

    Is this the same China that Kenney wants to buy our clean, green LNG and even give us carbon credits for the privilege:
    “Replacing coal in China – which burns four times more coal than any other country on earth – with our LNG will be an important step forward in Canada’s contribution to global emissions reduction,” …
    “Canadian premiers are pushing to ensure Canada earns credit for half of the emissions reductions generated by displacing coal with its LNG in overseas markets.”
    https://dev.canadianenergycentre.ca/fighting-climate-change-with-canadian-energy/

    Reply

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