Devin Dreeshen
Devin Dreeshen January 2020.jpg
Minister of Agriculture and Forestry of Alberta
In office
April 30, 2019 – November 5th, 2021
PremierJason Kenney
Preceded byOneil Carlier
Succeeded byNate Horner
Member of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta for Innisfail-Sylvan Lake
Assumed office
July 12, 2018
Preceded byDon MacIntyre
Personal details
Born1987/1988 (age 34–35)[1]
Innisfail, Alberta, Canada
Political partyUnited Conservative Party
Other political
affiliations
Conservative Party of Canada Republican Party (United States)
RelationsEarl Dreeshen (father)
Residence(s)Pine Lake, Alberta
Alma materUniversity of Alberta[2][unreliable source?]

Devin Dreeshen (born 1987/1988) is a Canadian politician. A member of the United Conservative Party, Dreeshen was the Minister of Agriculture and Forestry from April 30, 2019 until his resignation on November 5, 2021 due to rumours of alcohol usage within his office. Dreeshen currently represents the electoral district of Innisfail-Sylvan Lake since winning a by-election in July 2018. He was reelected in the 2019 Alberta general election to the 30th Alberta Legislature and on April 30, 2019, was appointed by Premier Jason Kenney to the Executive Council of Alberta as the Minister of Agriculture and Forestry.

Early life

Dreeshen was born in Innisfail, Alberta. His father, Earl Dreeshen, is a Conservative member of parliament for Red Deer—Mountain View, first elected in 2008.

Before entering politics himself, Dreeshen claims to have studied economics and political science at the University of Alberta;[2] however, there is no evidence that he attended or graduated with any degree. He was also a director of the right-wing lobbying group Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association, and a board member on the Crossroads Agricultural Society.[3][4]

From 2008 until 2015, Dreeshen worked as a policy advisor to Minister of Agriculture Gerry Ritz.[3]

Political career

Donald Trump presidential campaign

Between February and November 2016 Dreeshen worked on Donald Trump's presidential campaign.[5] Dreeshen visited 28 states and shadowed Ivanka Trump. As a result of his work, Dreeshen was invited to the Trump's victory party in New York City, where he was photographed wearing a red MAGA hat.[6] His press secretary, Justin Laurence, said in an email that the Minister denounced all forms of political violence during the 2021 storming of the United States Capitol.[7] On January 6, 2021, prior to press secretary's announcement, the Minister blocked so many Twitter users who asked for comment on or condemnation of the terrorist actions taking place in Washington that the hashtag "BlockedByDreeshan" became a top trend in Alberta.

United Conservative Party

Dreeshen won the United Conservative nomination for Innisfail-Sylvan Lake in 2018, and won the ensuing by-election with approximately 80% of the vote.[5] He was appointed by Jason Kenney as the Opposition Critic for Trade and was a member on the Standing Committee on Alberta's Economic Future. After winning reelection in the 2019 Alberta general election, he was appointed as the Minister of Agriculture and Forestry.[8]

In October 2021, a report by the CBC revealed that a former UCP staff member had reported Dreeshen multiple times for excessive drinking and aggressive conduct in the workplace, leading to his resignation from his ministry on 5 November.[9]

Cargill meat processing plant COVID-19 outbreak

On April 13, 2020, the union representing employees of the Cargill meat processing plant called for the plant to be shut down due to 38 confirmed cases of COVID-19 among plant workers.[10] On April 16, Rachel Notley called on Dreeshen and the provincial government to shut down the plant to create a safe working place;[11] Dreeshen responded, calling her statement "misinformation and fear-mongering."[12] During a virtual town hall meeting on April 18, Dreeshen assured plant employees that the Cargill plant has taken all necessary measures to mitigate risk to its staff.[13] By April 20, 484 cases had been linked to the Cargill plant outbreak, at which point the plant closed for two weeks.[14] On May 11, after the plant had reopened, NDP labour critic Christina Gray called on Dreeshen to close the plant again, but the plant remained open.[15] Three deaths were linked with the outbreak at the Cargill plant, and at more than 1500 confirmed cases, it was the largest outbreak of COVID-19 in Canada.[16]

Documents obtained by the Alberta Federation of Labour in March 2021 showed that Dreeshen was aware that the safety measures taken by the plant were not sufficient to ensure worker safety, but deliberately omitted the information at the town hall meeting with plant workers.[17]

Electoral results

2019 Alberta general election: Innisfail-Sylvan Lake
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
United Conservative Devin Dreeshen 19,030 74.55% -7.12%
New Democratic Robyn O'Brien 3,453 13.53% 4.22%
Alberta Party Danielle Klooster 2,337 9.15% 1.71%
Freedom Conservative Chad Miller 359 1.41%
Alberta Advantage Brian Vanderkley 164 0.64%
Independent Ed Wychopen 106 0.42%
Reform Lauren Thorsteinson 79 0.31%
Total 25,528
Rejected, spoiled and declined 31 57 10
Eligible electors / Turnout 34,873 73.32% 17.93%
United Conservative gain from Wildrose Swing 23.17%
Source(s)
Source: "66 - Innisfail-Sylvan Lake, 2019 Alberta general election". officialresults.elections.ab.ca. Elections Alberta. Retrieved May 21, 2020.
Alberta. Chief Electoral Officer (2019). 2019 General Election. A Report of the Chief Electoral Officer. Volume II (PDF) (Report). Vol. 2. Edmonton, Alta.: Elections Alberta. pp. 302–308. ISBN 978-1-988620-12-1. Retrieved April 7, 2021.
Alberta provincial by-election, July 12, 2018: Innisfail-Sylvan Lake
upon the resignation of Don MacIntyre on February 2, 2018
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
United Conservative Devin Dreeshen 8,029 81.67 +10.99
New Democratic Nicole Mooney 915 9.31 -13.83
Alberta Party Abigail Douglass 731 7.44 +1.25
Liberal Nicolaas Jansen 93 0.95
Independent David Inscho 63 0.64
Total valid votes 9,831
Rejected, spoiled, and declined 37
Turnout 9,868 31.22 -24.27
Eligible voters 31,604
United Conservative notional hold Swing +12.41
Source(s)
Elections Alberta. "Election results". Retrieved August 13, 2018.
Alberta provincial government of Jason Kenney Cabinet post (1) Predecessor Office Successor Oneil Carlier Minister of Agriculture and ForestryApril 30, 2019–November 5, 2021 Nate Horner

References

  1. ^ "Alberta election candidates are ready".
  2. ^ a b "MY EXPERIENCE". votedevindreeshen. Retrieved 2021-01-18.
  3. ^ a b Roth, Megan (February 14, 2018). "Devin Dreeshen adds his name to UCP race". Red Deer Express. Retrieved January 7, 2021.
  4. ^ McDermott, Vincent (July 13, 2013). "United Conservatives win Alberta byelections". Edmonton Journal. Retrieved January 7, 2021.
  5. ^ a b Krugel, Lauren (2018-07-13). "Alberta's Jason Kenney sees advantage to new member's history with Donald Trump". Global News. Retrieved 2018-09-12.
  6. ^ Leavitt, Kieran (July 14, 2018). "'I am my own person,' says new UCP byelection winner on working for Donald Trump campaign". Toronto Star. Retrieved January 7, 2021.
  7. ^ "Premier Kenney, Alberta's Opposition leader condemn storming of U.S. Capitol by Trump supporters". Global News. Retrieved 2021-01-18.
  8. ^ "Honourable Devin Dreeshen". Legislative Assembly of Alberta. Retrieved January 7, 2021.
  9. ^ von Scheel, Elise (27 October 2021). "'Poisoned work environment': Staffer alleges sexual harassment, intoxication in suit against Kenney's office". CBC News. Archived from the original on 27 October 2021. Retrieved 27 October 2021.
  10. ^ Bell, David (April 13, 2020). "Union says 38 confirmed COVID-19 cases at Cargill meat plant cause for closure".
  11. ^ Notley, Rachel [@RachelNotley] (2020-04-16). "We are deeply concerned that hundreds of workers at a High River-area meat processing plant have been laid off or had their hours cut substantially for exercising their legal right to speak out about unsafe work conditions. 1/ #AbLeg" (Tweet). Retrieved 2021-01-04 – via Twitter.
  12. ^ Dreeshen, Devin [@DevinDVote] (2020-04-16). "It's deeply concerning that you're recklessly advocating against the AHS advice and protocols that have made meat processing plants in Alberta, safe worksites. t.co/J22k5G0PaW" (Tweet). Retrieved 2021-01-04 – via Twitter.
  13. ^ "Cargill employees take part in virtual town hall meeting with officials". Calgary Sun. Retrieved 2020-08-14.
  14. ^ "'A difficult decision': Cargill meat-packing plant pausing production". thestar.com. 2020-04-20. Retrieved 2020-08-14.
  15. ^ Blanke, Jason. "Alberta NDP Again Demands Cargill Plant to Shut Down". DrumhellerOnline.com. Retrieved 2020-08-14.
  16. ^ Rieger, Sarah (May 11, 2020). "3rd death linked to Canada's largest COVID-19 outbreak at Alberta slaughterhouse". Retrieved August 13, 2020.
  17. ^ "Union group says documents show Alberta government prioritized Cargill plant operation over worker safety | CBC News". CBC. Retrieved 2021-03-30.