For Lakeside Leader
United Conservative Party candidate for Lesser Slave Lake Pat Rehn says what he’s hearing recently in his chats with constituents is pretty much the same as what he heard when he was running for the UCP nomination last fall.
“Top of the list is to get rid of the carbon tax,” he says.
“Second is more jobs. Lack of pipelines. Get pipelines built.”
Rehn is able to tell these folks good news.
If you elect me, he’ll say, and the party is successful in forming a majority, the carbon tax will be the first thing to go.
He’s been hearing from people on the impact of the tax; one said he paid $500 a month extra for grain-drying in a wet fall, in carbon tax alone!
Another local businessman, Rehn says, showed him his carbon tax bills.
“He added it up to over half a million dollars last year!”
On the pipeline file, the goal, if elected, is “to work with the federal government to put pressure on B.C.”
Not only that, he says, but to get a pipeline built to the east coast. With those two problems solved, the jobs in the oil industry will come back. That’s an important pillar in the UCP philosophy, because it holds up another big part of the platform – paying for services at the same time as getting out of debt. It’s a tall order, but it is the goal.
“Our plan is to try to get the economy going and generate more revenue,” says Rehn. “That’s how we’ll be able to keep on paying for things.”
And don’t worry about cuts to front line jobs in health care and education. Rehn says suggestions that would happen under a UCP government are “fearmongering” and “totally false.”
What will happen, Rehn continues, is that a government led by Jason Kenney would cut red tape that makes industrial projects difficult to get started. He says an oil and gas project that might take two months to get approved in Saskatchewan takes “12 to 18 months in Alberta.”
Another thing it would do is take another look at Bill 6. It’s the bill that instituted rules regarding safety for farm workers. The farmers Rehn hears from don’t like it and don’t like that they weren’t consulted before it was passed.
Like everybody else, Rehn is waiting for the writ to drop before going full tilt into campaign mode. Not that he isn’t campaigning now; he is, because he can’t afford not to.
His main [only, at this point] opponent – incumbent NDP MLA Danielle Larivee, is known to be campaigning unofficially. Rehn says he wishes the government would get on with it.
“We don’t feel it should be the government’s right to play with that [the date] and hold everyone in suspense.”
As he was saying this, Larivee was working the same crowd as he was, at the Family Day event in Slave Lake’s Multi Rec Centre.
Rehn is opening a Slave Lake campaign office March 2. He plans on opening another office in High Prairie.