MLA booted from Alberta UCP caucus shows no signs he'll give up seat

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EDMONTON — An Alberta legislature member booted from the United Conservative caucus is signalling he has no plans to give up his seat.

Pat Rehn, who represents the constituency of Lesser Slave Lake, says on Facebook that he's disappointed over his ouster, but there are some advantages to not being tied to a political party.

An earlier version of the statement posted late Thursday said he was also relieved.

Rehn says as an Independent he can express his opposition to some provincial pandemic measures such as closing gyms and businesses.

Premier Jason Kenney announced Rehn's removal on Thursday after local municipal leaders complained he was rarely in the constituency, missed meetings or wasn't prepared for them.

Rehn was one of a half dozen UCP MLAs, including one cabinet minister, who vacationed in sunny locales over the holidays, contrary to public health guidance to stay home to help stem the spread of COVID-19.

The mayor of the town of Slave Lake and Opposition NDP Leader Rachel Notley are among those calling for Rehn to give up his seat so a byelection can be called.

Rehn is still entitled to his more than $120,000 a year MLA salary.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published January 15, 2021.

The Canadian Press