Joe McWilliams
South Peace News

With a provincial election two years away, it seems unusually early to be running a candidate recruitment campaign.

But that’s what the Lesser Slave Lake United Conservative Party [UCP] Constituency Association is doing.

Ads inviting applications have been appearing weekly in the Slave Lake Lakeside Leader and South Peace News. It is early, agrees Gordon Ferguson, the chair of the constituency association’s candidate recruitment committee.

For a couple of reasons. One is the UCP lost its candidate and MLA when Pat Rehn was kicked out of the party early this year.

As a result, the association wants to get somebody in place in plenty of time, so he or she can “get up to speed.”

The other reason, Ferguson says, has to do with the province’s new recall legislation. It’s a long shot, but if, say, Rehn were recalled [i.e. lost his job as MLA] by recall, the UCP would need to have somebody in place to contest a byelection.

So for those two reasons, “they’re giving us an exemption,” Ferguson says.

The constituency association hopes to have several contenders signed up by early July. Then over the summer there would be a ‘run-off’ campaign, with party members voting on their choice after a month or two.

As of May 11, one person has shown interest. Ferguson says that person is not from Slave Lake; where he/she is from he didn’t say –only that it’s somewhere in the western side of the constituency.

The last time the UCP went through the process in 2018, Rehn defeated John Middelkoop, Juliette Noskey and Brenda Derkoch. A couple of other candidates, including Slave Lake’s Jim Sparks, had been in the mix but dropped out before the final vote.

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