Alberta Minister of Health Tyler Shandro speaks about measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, in Calgary on Friday, May 29, 2020. Two Alberta cabinet ministers say they’ve been getting an earful from constituents about their colleagues jetting off to tropical locales contrary to public health guidelines — and that they’re right to be angry. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

Alberta Minister of Health Tyler Shandro speaks about measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, in Calgary on Friday, May 29, 2020. Two Alberta cabinet ministers say they’ve been getting an earful from constituents about their colleagues jetting off to tropical locales contrary to public health guidelines — and that they’re right to be angry. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

Albertans right to be angry over politicians’ vacations: health minister

Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer, said she understands the anger, but also urged compassion

Two Alberta cabinet ministers say they’ve been getting an earful from constituents about their colleagues jetting off to tropical locales contrary to public-health guidelines — and that they’re right to be angry.

Premier Jason Kenney announced on social media Monday that municipal affairs minister Tracy Allard had resigned over her trip to Hawaii and that five backbenchers had been stripped of responsibilities over their jaunts to sunny destinations.

Kenney had earlier said the six legislature members would not be punished because what they did was technically within the rules.

Health Minister Tyler Shandro said Tuesday that Alberta’s United Conservative government was elected on a promise of “hard work and humility.”

“Some folks on our team forgot about that last part.”

Shandro said he last left the province over the Labour Day weekend for a trip to British Columbia.

“It is going to take us time to be able to earn back that trust, to earn back the credibility and show people that humility is still important for our team, our caucus, our party and this government.”

Transportation Minister Ric McIver, who is handling Allard’s municipal affairs portfolio on an interim basis, said Albertans have every right to expect a high standard of conduct from MLAs.

“I am hearing from Albertans who are angry. Sometimes they’re yelling. Sometimes they’re using hard language,” said McIver, who last travelled outside the province in November to visit his ailing mother in Ontario.

“I’m not asking people to stop yelling. I’m just saying we’re getting the message. We’re committed to doing better.”

The town council for Slave Lake posted a letter Tuesday calling for the resignation of area legislature member Pat Rehn, who travelled to Mexico over the holidays.

The letter listed various grievances against Rehn, including that he missed meetings while focusing his time on running a business in Texas.

“What continues to be even more frustrating than trying to get you, our MLA, to spend time in this region is we can’t even get you to stay in the country.”

Rehn responded on Twitter and said he plans to continue representing the Lesser Slave Lake constituency.

“Recently, I made some poor choices around travel, for which I have taken full responsibility. It’s disappointing to see some municipal officials seizing on this to try and sow political division at this difficult time.”

Meanwhile, Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi said he was aware that his chief of staff and an administrative assistant in his office individually travelled to Hawaii during the Christmas break.

“I also believe that they made a decision that they thought was right, and fair and within the rules,” Nenshi said.

“I had a lot going on, and I really wish I pushed back hard on this. I deeply regret that I didn’t do that.”

He said since the staffers are not politicians, he will not be taking any further action against them.

Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer, said she understands the anger, but also urged compassion.

“Albertans are really sick and tired of COVID and sometimes that leads to lapses in judgment,” she said.

“So I would just ask Albertans to take a deep breath and continue to look toward that common goal of getting through COVID together.”

On Tuesday, Alberta reported 843 new cases of COVID-19 over the past day. About 8.2 per cent of tests in that time came back positive.

There were 26 more deaths reported in the province, one of which was a continuing-care home worker in the Edmonton area, the second Alberta health-care worker to die from the novel coronavirus, the province said.

There were also 919 people in hospital with the virus, with 140 of them in intensive care.

— By Lauren Krugel in Calgary with files from Fakiha Baig in Edmonton

The Canadian Press

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

File photo
Wetaskiwin Crime Reduction Unit recovers valuable stolen property

Property valued at over $50,000 recovered by Wetaskiwin Crime Reduction Unit.

Black Press file photo
Leduc RCMP arrest male for multiple break and enters and theft

34-year-old Michael Gilchrist has been arrested for his involvement in the thefts.

25-year-old Rachelle Okrusko has been missing since Jan. 12, 2021. Photo provided by Wetaskiwin RCMP.
Update: Wetaskiwin RCMP looking for missing woman; Rachelle Okrusko is no longer missing.

25-year-old Rachelle Okrusko has been missing since Jan. 12, 2021.

Chelsey Rain. Photo provided by Wetaskiwin RCMP.
UPDATE: Missing Wetaskiwin woman found

23-year-old Chelsey Rain has been missing since New Years Day.

Metro Creative Connection
Pigeon Lake Santa’s Elves celebrates 21 years of donated food hampers

Community donations from 4-H groups, Mulhurst Fire and local businesses key to this years success.

A scene from “Canada and the Gulf War: In their own words,” a video by The Memory Project, a program of Historica Canada, is shown in this undated illustration. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Historica Canada
New video marks Canada’s contributions to first Gulf War on 30th anniversary

Veterans Affairs Canada says around 4,500 Canadian military personnel served during the war

In this March 28, 2017, file photo, a dump truck hauls coal at Contura Energy’s Eagle Butte Mine near Gillette, Wyo. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Mead Gruver, File)
First Nations seek to intervene in court challenge of coal policy removal

Bearspaw, Ermineskin and Whitefish First Nations are among those looking to intervene

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic from Rideau Cottage in Ottawa on Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic from Rideau Cottage in Ottawa on Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Trudeau vows to keep up the fight to sway U.S. on merits of Keystone XL pipeline

Canada’s pitch to the Biden team has framed Keystone XL as a more environmentally friendly project than original

Catherine Hay. Photo Submitted
Central Albertan lobbying government to help those affected by CERB repayments

Catherine Hay says she received a letter in November saying she had to completely repay the benefit

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
No Pfizer vaccines arriving in Canada next week; feds still expect 4M doses by end of March

More cases of U.K. variant, South African variant found in Canada

Health-care workers wait in line at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Canadians who have had COVID-19 should still get the vaccine, experts say

Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines were found to have a 95 per cent efficacy

An empty Peel and Sainte-Catherine street is shown in Montreal, Saturday, Jan. 9, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Poll finds strong support for COVID-19 curfews despite doubts about effectiveness

The poll suggests 59 per cent remain somewhat or very afraid of contracting COVID-19

Lacombe is looking at its options for reclaiming sewage lagoons that are no longer needed. Vesta Energy Ltd. has signed a deal to use three lagoons to store water for fracking.
Map from City of Lacombe
Energy company to use former Lacombe sewage lagoons to store water for fracking

Vesta Energy Ltd. will pay Lacombe more than $100,000 a year in 20-year deal

Alberta Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said on Monday that11 more people had died from COVID-19, bringing the province’s death toll to 1,447. (Photography by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Eleven more Albertans die from COVID-19

There were 739 people in hospital, 120 in ICU on Monday

Most Read