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Innisfail–Sylvan Lake MLA confident despite riding association changes

Devin Dreeshen ready to move forward with new president Pam Davidson
Hundreds of UCP party members braved a long line-up outside the Innisfail Royal Canadian Legion Branch #104 on Feb. 18 to attend the annual general meeting for the Innisfail-Sylvan Lake UCP Constituency. Johnnie Bachusky/MVP Staff

INNISFAIL – As Devin Dreeshen moves from one point to another in the Innisfail–Sylvan Lake riding to sell the 2023 budget provincial budget he does so with a new constituency association board backing him.

Dreeshen, who is not only the riding’s MLA but also the provincial minister of Transportation and Economic Corridors, is also mindful a general election is coming in May.

“We've had a meeting since the AGM with the new board. They're all very hot to trot wanting to get out and campaign, which is fantastic,” said Dreeshen. “My campaign team is ready to go. We're excited for the opportunity of campaigning here and helping out and other ridings across the province.”

Last July, Dreeshen won the nomination for a third time to represent the riding in a close 421 to 413 vote decision against Sylvan Lake pharmacist Onsy Tawadrous.

He’s proud he has been able to rally riding UCP members and supporters to continue their generosity for the party, especially in his region.

Dreeshen pointed out his party over the past four years had raised about a $1 million in the Innisfail - Sylvan Lake riding; funds that have either gone to the riding contingency association (CA) or to the party.

“We have far exceeded any other local CA across the province. We are fully funded for our local campaign, but also for hundreds of thousands of dollars to the central party and other CAs across the province,” said Dreeshen.

However, he is even more excited for what he believes was a recent successful annual general meeting (AGM) for the Innisfail-Sylvan Lake UCP Constituency.

The event was held Feb. 18 in the auditorium of the Innisfail Royal Canadian Legion Branch #104.

Hundreds of party members who attended got the chance to see and hear Premier Danielle Smith.

The premier had many kind words for the audience about the incumbent Innisfail–Sylvan Lake MLA.

“He is probably the busiest guy going up to our budget. He’s seen 161 project proposals from the various different MLAs,” said Smith in a video of the AGM that was released on YouTube after the event. “He's (Dreeshen) also doing some great work on economic corridors because we know that the only way to get our products to market is to be able to get more pipelines, transmission lines, railway lines or roads, or broadband Internet access.”

Following Smith’s appearance the highly anticipated AGM went along as planned. There was clear excitement in the air over the possibility that a distinctly new board would be elected, possibly as dramatically as in the UCP-held Rimbey–Rocky Mountain House–Sundre riding when in January many old board members gave way to the new.

The media was not allowed to attend the Innisfail–Sylvan Lake AGM.

A distinctly new board, however, was elected; a full slate of 27 directors and new president Pam Davidson.

Going forward, Dreeshen said he has confidence with the new board, noting the party has withstood plenty of changes in the recent past.

“UCP supporters, whether it's 2018,  was a different board than in 2019, and in that time, there was obviously the merger between the Wildrose party and the PC party. The previous board was almost a 50-50 split of PC and Wildrose volunteers,” said Dreeshen. “There was four years of tremendous financial success and I appreciated working with them. But the CA board itself has its own agenda."

“I had a great CA before and I'm looking forward to working with the new CA board that I have now,” he said, noting the impressive credentials of new president Davidson.

“She is a federal Senator-elect waiting to join the Senate and represent conservatives so I think you have another strong leadership and strong board that's very motivated,” said Dreeshen. “I am looking forward to working with them for sure.”


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