Alberta premier Jason Kenney shakes hands with Devin Dreeshen, then Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, after being sworn into office in Edmonton on Tuesday, April 30, 2019. Dreeshen has resigned from cabinet amid concerns over his alcohol consumption. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

Alberta premier Jason Kenney shakes hands with Devin Dreeshen, then Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, after being sworn into office in Edmonton on Tuesday, April 30, 2019. Dreeshen has resigned from cabinet amid concerns over his alcohol consumption. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

Alberta agriculture minister quits cabinet amid concerns about drinking

Issue of Dreeshen’s drinking surfaced last week in a lawsuit

EDMONTON — Alberta Agriculture Minister Devin Dreeshen has resigned from cabinet amid concerns over his drinking.

Dreeshen, in a short statement Friday, said it’s time he step aside and focus on his health.

“This morning, I offered Premier Jason Kenney my resignation as Minister of Agriculture and Forestry and he has accepted,” Dreeshen said.

“I accept that my personal conduct with regards to alcohol has become an issue for the government as a whole.

“I deeply regret that this is the case, but have decided that it is best for both myself and the province to resign my position and focus on my personal health and wellness.”

Kenney said he has tabbed Nate Horner, the associate minister in charge of rural economic development, to take over as agriculture minister.

The issue of Dreeshen’s drinking surfaced last week in a lawsuit filed by a former senior government staffer, who once had a romantic relationship with him.

In a statement of claim, Ariella Kimmel alleges she encountered Dreeshen and others heavily intoxicated in a legislature office last fall.

The document says Kimmel expressed concern for how much Dreeshen was drinking and encouraged him to stop, which she alleges led to Dreeshen publicly berating her until she was in tears.

The allegations have not been proven in court.

Dreeshen, the legislature member for Innisfail-Sylvan Lake, had served as agriculture minister since he was first elected as part of the United Conservative Party win in 2019.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 5, 2021.

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