MLA Mike Allen's return to Tory caucus met with mixed reaction

Premier says Allen has 'atoned' for getting caught in a prostitution sting last year but the YWCA is disappointed.

There was mixed reaction Tuesday to Fort McMurray MLA Mike Allen’s return to the Tory caucus.

Allen stepped down from caucus in July 2013  after he was caught in prostitution sting while on government business in Minnesota.

Allen pleaded guilty to a misdemeanour in December and paid a $500 fine. On Monday, the majority of Tory MLAs voted to let him rejoin caucus.

Allen spoke with CBC's Mark Connolly about re-joining caucus on Wednesday morning:

When Allen was charged last summer, then-Premier Alison Redford said the matter was “disgusting.”

But now Premier Dave Hancock has offered a more conciliatory tone.

“He's atoned for his mistake, but he's also a very conscientious MLA and I think caucus agreed he would bring some strengths back to the caucus,” Premier Dave Hancock said on Tuesday.

Alberta Premier Dave Hancock said that Allen has 'atoned' for his mistake. (CBC)

“That everybody deserves a second chance in life.”

However, not everyone sees it that way. The Edmonton YWCA is disappointed with Allen’s reinstatement.

"As an organization that deals a lot with women and children who've been harmed by various practices including prostitution , I don't think it sends the right message about what is tolerable in our society nowadays,” said communications director Amber Niemeier.

Reaction was also mixed in Allen’s home constituency.

“I don't think he should even been let back in there,” said Dennis Whalen. “If it was an average Joe working on the job, he’d have lost his job."

“Hopefully, he redeems himself properly or at least doesn't get caught doing some shady stuff anymore,” Hector Onaga said.

Allen hasn't decided if he'll run in the next provincial election. He said he is grateful to be back in the government caucus.