Editorial – Rehn gets A+ for effort

Chris Clegg

It is hard to imagine many politicians having a worse 2021 than Lesser Slave Lake MLA Pat Rehn.
However, as year ends, after enduring much controversy, he is still in there slogging away! We give him credit for that. Rehn is a fighter!
Dec. 1 in the Alberta Legislature, Rehn rose to question ministers about the conditions and ongoing repairs to Highway 2 and Highway 88. Rehn’s questions were valid and very timely.
“There are parts of highways 2 and 88 in my constituency of Lesser Slave Lake that have fallen into disrepair,” said Rehn. “To the Minister of Transportation: since the reason why they fell into such disrepair was lack of maintenance, what steps can be taken to ensure proper maintenance when these repair projects are completed to avoid other costly projects like this?”
Good question. Too bad the response wasn’t nearly as good.
Alberta Minister of Transportation Rajan Sawhney said the following: “Safe, drivable roads are of the utmost importance. The Highway 2 paving project began with some intersection improvements in August of 2021. It is currently 25 per cent complete. However, due to the risk of inclement weather, the contractor has deferred paving to June of 2022. There are currently no rehabilitation projects for this section of the highway in question, but ongoing maintenance will continue.”
It didn’t come close to answering Rehn’s question. But he persisted with another question later.
“Given that they were told that these highways were not top priority due to other highways being more urgent to complete, and given that they have been told many times now that the highway project will be delayed yet again, to the Minister of Transportation: is it possible to put together a list of high-priority projects to be completed so that they and other municipalities across Alberta know when these projects will likely be finished?” asked Rehn.
Following was Sawhney’s answer.
“In the spring of 2020 Alberta’s government announced a $2 billion investment in the job creating capital maintenance and renewal program. Alberta Transportation reviews several factors when determining road paving projects, like traffic volumes, pavement quality, and visual inspections. Data is used to prioritize rehab projects across the province.”
It was the end of discussion.
Where was the answer to the list Rehn requested? What are the high-priority projects? Like Rehn, Albertans would like to know where they stand on the pecking order of road projects in their area.
Anyone who watches Question Period already knows what a farce it can be. The recent exchange proves there is little interest in answering the question.
Rehn tried. He brought up the issue and asked the question. The fact his government did not provide a decent answer is no fault of Rehn’s and is disrespectful to him as well as all Albertans.
Answer the damn question!

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