Luke Ouellette told supporters that he won’t be seeking the Progressive Conservative nomination in the Innisfail-Sylvan Lake constituency again.
He was feted for his 11 years of service by the Conservative constituency association at Innisfail’s Discovery Park, last Thursday night.
During the brief program, president Linda Yargeau read letters from Premier Alison Redford and a number of cabinet ministers before speakers, including Red Deer County Mayor Jim Wood and Sylvan Lake Mayor Susan Samson, spoke of Ouellette’s assistance.
“I don’t think anybody could have cared more for every single resident of this area,” said Wood. “He’s done an excellent job for us.”
“You’ve taken us a long way, thank you for helping us build the community to the standard it is now,” said Samson. She noted the Optimist club recently received $125,000 through the Community Facility Enhancement Program for the skatepark. “When he said he was there, he was there. When he said the money was there, it was there,” Samson said noting “he looked after us”.
Ouellette said, “It’s been an unbelievable honour to be able to serve the people of Innisfail-Sylvan Lake. I remember the first time I walked into the Legislature it was such an honour, I was so proud to work in such a building.”
He said reading papers the impression was “nobody trusts us and sometimes that hurts, makes you feel bad, then you do things for people and realize how much of an honour it is to be able to serve.”
“I believe we live in the greatest province in the greatest country in the whole wide world,” he said referring to the statement he’s used many times during his time as an MLA.
“I’ve met some great people, lots of them are right here tonight. I am retiring and am not coming back. I’ve enjoyed every second of what I did. I want to be able to do whatever I can for this province but at a different level,” Ouellette said.
He encouraged everyone who’s interested in representing the party in the next election to begin selling memberships and preparing for the future.
Judy Dreeshen, on behalf of her husband Earl, the area’s Member of Parliament, said the two had worked together over the years. Earl served as Luke’s official agent for every election except the last one. Then she talked of “the wonderful things that can be accomplished when all three governments can work together. We’re envied across the nation because of what we can accomplish through cooperation.”