The Alberta minister resigns on charges of heavy alcohol consumption

Devin Dreeshen admitted he has a drinking problem and resigned as Alberta’s Minister for Agriculture and Forestry this morning. He was replaced by Drumheller-Stettler MLA Nate Horner.

“This morning I offered Prime Minister Jason Kenney my resignation as Minister of Agriculture and Forestry and he accepted,” said Dreeshen on November 5th on Twitter. “I accept that my personal behavior regarding alcohol has become an issue for the government” as a whole.

“I deeply regret that it has, but have decided that it is best for both myself and the province to leave my position and focus on both my personal health and well-being.”

The 33-year-old was elected to represent Innisfail-Sylvan Lake in a by-election in 2018 and was named Ag Minister after Kenney’s United Conservative Party took over government in April 2019.

Last month, alleged incidents of Dreeshen drinking heavily in his legislature were part of a $ 400,000 lawsuit filed by a former head of government against the Alberta Prime Minister’s office.

The lawsuit alleges that the Prime Minister’s office has failed to respond to complaints of sexual harassment and a toxic workplace, and the lawsuit alleges improper conduct by Dreeshen. In it, Ariella Kimmel, chief of staff of the Minister for Labor, Economics and Innovation from August 2020 to February, claimed that Dreeshen had “drank excessively” one night in autumn 2020. She said she intervened and asked him to stop. Later that evening, the document claims, he confronted her and “yelled at her so aggressively that she burst into tears and a concerned bystander intervened.”

The two had been in an on-off relationship, according to Kimmel.

Dreeshen denied to reporters that he had a drinking problem after returning to the legislature November 1st (after these allegations against him went public).

“There are long tough days in the legislature with my behavior and I think this is something that everyone has had to deal with,” he said.

On the same day, he posted a picture of himself on Twitter holding a virtual meeting with his iPad on a drinks cooler, with a bottle of wine that appears to be on the floor under a nearby desk.

On the morning Dreeshen stepped down, CBC published an article quoting several unnamed UCP government officials as saying he was known to drink frequently in his legislature office and describing numerous incidents of alleged conduct in 2019 and 2020.

The new Ag minister comes from a family with many years of experience in Alberta politics. Nate Horner’s grandfather, Jack, was a well-known and longtime MP and is related to Hugh Horner and Doug Horner, both former Secretary of Agriculture. Before his election, he was a cattle breeder in a mixed cow and calf farm and most recently Deputy Minister for Rural Economic Development. In 2002 and 2004 he was also the Canadian Intercollegiate Rodeo Association Champion in the Saddle Bronc.

Dreeshen will remain as the MLA for Innisfail-Sylvan Lake.

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