Pat Rehn becomes first MLA in Canada to be kicked out of caucus after travelling abroad during pandemic

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      Today, Alberta premier Jason Kenney sent one of his backbench MLAs packing—to the other side of the legislature.

      Pat Rehn, one of six United Conservative Party caucus members who travelled outside of the country, has been stripped of his party status and told he will not be nominated again with the UCP.

      According a statement by Kenney, the Lesser Slave Lake MLA "made no meaningful effort to work in his constituency, or property to represent his hard-working constituents".

      "I have repeatedly asked Mr. Rehn to be more present in his constituency," Kenney said. "He has ignored calls from me, UCP caucus leadership, and his constituents to do so.

      "Regrettably, MLA Rehn's performance falls well below the high standards we expect in our caucus and our party."

      Rehn is the first MLA in Canada to be booted out of caucus following an international trip during the pandemic.

      Others, such as Ontario's Rod Phillips and Saskatchewan's Joe Hargrave, resigned cabinet positions. Others have been stripped of caucus responsibilities.

      After Rehn visited Mexico during the holidays, municipal leaders in his constituency complained publicly that he spends too much time on his own businesses and not enough time representing the region.

      Earlier this month, Rehn claimed that he took full responsibility for his poor choices around travel. But he blamed people for seizing on this "to try and sow politicial division at this difficult time".

      "To be clear, I have residences in Slave Lake and Edmonton," he said. "I do not own any property in Texas whatsoever."

      He conceded that he's needed to travel to Texas in the past year "to address essential business matters".

      "I, of course, complied with all health requirements when doing so," Rehn stated. "It is the honour of a lifetime to represent a region I have lived and worked in since I bought my first quarter-section of trees and also my first sawmill in Wabasca using every penny I had in the bank."

       

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