Edmonton

Rob Merrifield, Alberta's U.S. representative, loses contract

The NDP government is booting Rob Merrifield, Alberta's representative in the U.S., but not before delivering a final kick to the longtime Tory on his way out the door.

Longtime Tory's contract terminated 3 years early

Rob Merrifield's term as Alberta's senior representative to the U.S. will end on Sept. 30, 2015. (Gero Breloer/Associated Press)

The NDP government is booting Alberta's U.S. representative Rob Merrifield, but not before delivering a final kick to the longtime Tory on his way out the door.

A release from Premier Rachel Notley's office says Merrifield's term will end Sept. 30. The release then appears to take issue with Merrifield's qualifications, noting the government would like to find someone with diplomatic experience to fill the post.

"This change will allow the government time to consider a new direction for the office, including the option of appointing a representative with a background as a professional diplomat," said the statement.

Merrifield was appointed by former premier Jim Prentice in September 2014. The longtime Conservative MP sat in the House of Commons at the same time as Prentice when he was a federal Conservative MP. 

His appointment was widely criticized by opposition parties as a patronage appointment.

Merrifield's contract is being terminated three years early. When Prentice appointed him, Merrifield was scheduled to fill the position until Sept. 30, 2018.

A spokesperson from the premier's office said Merrifield will not be receiving a severance payment, as that was not part of his contract.

On Friday, Notley thanked Merrifield for his "efforts in advancing Alberta's economic and policy interests with our largest trading partner," citing in particular his recent work on the country of origin labelling issue.

Details on who will replace Merrifield are expected soon. 

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