by Joe McWilliams
Pat Rehn of Slave Lake is the United Conservative Party candidate for Lesser Slave Lake.
UCP members chose him out of a field of four in the election held on two days.
“I want to thank the other contestants in this race – John Middelkoop, Brenda Derkoch and Juliette Noskey – and their teams,” said Rehn in a statement posted on his website.
“These are all fine individuals with expertise in many important areas, and I look forward to working them to ensure our riding is the best it can be.”
The voting took place on Nov. 24 and Nov. 26 in four locations. High Prairie and Red Earth Creek polling stations were open Nov. 24 and on Nov. 26 voting took place in Wabasca and Slave Lake.
According to the party, over 900 people voted.
Rehn won over runner-up Middelkoop. Noskey finished in third place and Derkoch got the fewest number of votes.
Vote totals for the candidates were not available by press time.
UCP leader Jason Kenney offered his congratulations by way of a news release shortly after polling stations closed on Nov. 26.
“Pat is a valuable member of the United Conservative team as we seek to defeat the NDP, re-ignite the Alberta economy and get our province back on track,” he said. “I am pleased to welcome Pat as the United Conservative candidate in Lesser Slave Lake.”
According to the UCP LSL, 901 members voted, out of a membership of 2,200, for a roughly 40 per cent turnout.
Paul George, the communications person for the constituency association, says turnout at the Slave Lake polling station was very good; High Prairie was “quite good,” and the Red Earth and Wabasca polls “not as well attended.” However, he says it was still worthwhile doing them.
Rehn was the clear winner, George says, so the preferential vote system was not needed for tie-breaking purposes.
Lesser Slave Lake UCP candidate Pat Rehn credits his team, plus a lot of hard work for victory
Sixteen to 18-hour days!
That’s what it took to win the United Conservative Party nomination for Lesser Slave Lake, says Pat Rehn. UCP members chose Rehn in voting on Nov. 24 and Nov. 26 over three other candidates.
“It was hard work on the part of my campaign,” Rehn [pronounced ‘Rain’] said the morning after the polls closed. “We put a lot of hours into it.”
Rehn also credits the endorsement of a few people for putting him over the top. These included MP David Yurdiga, Garrett Tomlinson – initially an opponent for the UCP nomination – and Karen Vanderwell of Slave Lake.
He also mentions the hard work his brother and sister put in during the campaign, and his son Noah for stepping up and helping to run Rehn’s business in his absence.
Rehn runs a crane company called Precision Industries, operating mainly in the energy section in Canada and the U.S.
Another key helper was Votham Anastasiadis, in Wabasca.
“She did a wonderful job on our campaign!”
Rehn’s focus will now shift to preparation for the next general election, expected no later than next May.
“I’m just going to take a few days off. We’re meeting on Monday and see what our plans are. We’ve got a spectacular group of people I’m going to have the pleasure of working with.”
That would be the constituency association, led by its president, Ken Vanderwell.
Rehn isn’t sure on the specifics of the game plan over next while, but he figures it will include more of what he has been doing: getting out and meeting people, attending functions and spreading the UCP message.
Asked for a few examples of that message, he offers the following:
“The big thing is getting pipelines built and get a fair dollar for our natural resources. Get rid of the carbon tax and stand up for freedom of education.”
Rehn says he’ll be easing off a bit from the workload of the recent campaign, at least for a month or so. But he expects he’ll be back up to those 16-hour days soon enough.
Rehn grew up in the Wildwood area west of Edmonton. He was a schoolteacher early in his work career, went into the sawmill business and more recently saw success in the hoisting industry. He moved to Slave Lake earlier this year, apparently in preparation for what turned out to be a successful attempt at becoming a UCP candidate.
Rehn says he looks forward to hearing from residents of the area on the issues that matter to them.
“Contact me anytime on my website (patrehn.ca),” he says.