Former MLA Larivee returns to nursing

Joe McWilliams
Lakeside Leader

Ozzie the pet rabbit chews quietly in his cage, as former Lesser Slave Lake MLA and Minister of Child Services chats about what her plans are since losing in the April 16 provincial election. Ozzie is probably happy to have her around more often. So are her three kids – two still of school age – who had to put up with their mom being in government for the past four years.

Larivee ran to win a second term, of course, but having lost, has “enjoyed spending time with my children.”

“It was hard,” she says. “I sacrificed a lot of time.”

Larivee starts back in her regular profession as a public health nurse this week, working out of the Slave Lake Health Care Centre.

“I’m happy to get back to this,” she says, defining ‘this’ as things such as immunizations, working with new moms and babies and on communicable diseases.

Having said that, she adds, “I’m not done fighting for people. I will keep on looking for opportunity to stand up for workers and vulnerable people. Just because I wasn’t re-elected doesn’t mean I stop being interested in politics.”

Speaking of which, Larivee is particular interested in the fate of work she led into improving the child intervention system in Alberta.

“It’s rooted in our government’s commitment to reconciliation,” she says. “I’d like to think it’s non-partisan.”

But it’s too early to tell how it’s going to go, she says. Same goes for other areas of special concern for the former MLA.

“I think we did some good work on human rights,” Larivee says. “I would hate to see it reversed.”

As far as the election goes, “the people have spoken,” Larivee says, meaning she accepts the result. Asked about giving the benefit of the doubt to the new government, Larivee says that’s a good idea as far as it goes, but there are stated goals of the UCP she can’t agree with. Examples?

“Freezing education and health care spending,” she says, adding that with growing population, these amount to cuts. Also, “the work we did protecting GSAs (Gay-Straight Alliances).”

Also keeping Larivee tuned into the provincial political scene these days, she says, is the RCMP investigation into the UCP leadership race.

“What will happen if they make a ruling that the leadership race was corrupted?” she asks.

It’s been noted that ex-government ministers often show up on boards of directors or on other types of high-level engagements. Larivee admits she’s had some opportunities, but for now she’s staying put.

“Slave Lake’s home,” she says.

And in the future – would she consider running again?

“I won’t say I will, but I won’t say I won’t.”

How about federally?

“That is a big no!”

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