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

Alberta Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw reported Tuesday that province’s COVID-19 test positivity rate is 4.4 per cent . (photography by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
14 new deaths, 366 new COVID-19 cases in Alberta

Province nearing 100K COVID-19 vaccine doses administered

Art Kempf, originally from the Stettler area but now living in Lacombe, is pictured here with his late wife Lillian. Art’s 100th birthday is coming up on Feb. 22nd.
photo submitted
Former Stettler area resident Art Kempf will be celebrating a very special day next month

Kempf, now a Lacombe resident, marks his 100th birthday on Feb. 22nd

photo courtesy of Lara Angus
Kate Syson, Sharon Fischer and Allan King pose with the Zamboni on Stettler’s newest skating spot.
photo courtesy of Lara Angus
Stettler Elementary leadership take the Zamboni for a spin

Sharon Fischer and Kate Syson lend a hand for Stettler’s new skating spot

People skate on a lake in a city park in Montreal, Sunday, January 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
The end of hugs: How COVID-19 has changed daily life a year after Canada’s 1st case

Today marks the one year anniversary of COVID-19 landing in Canada

Terrance Josephson of the Princeton Posse, at left, and Tyson Conroy of the Summerland Steam clash during a Junior B hockey game at the Summerland Arena in the early spring of 2020. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Test your knowledge of Canada’s national winter sport

(Photo submitted)
Central Alberta researchers recognized for studies in agricultural sciences

Jessica Sperber of Ponoka and David MacTaggart of Lacombe awarded prestigious scholarship

FILE – Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delivers his opening remarks at a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Tuesday, January 19, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine CEO ‘very, very clear’ that Canada’s contracts will be honoured: Trudeau

Trudeau says he spoke to Moderna CEO on the morning of Jan. 26

A ground worker wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 unloads lobsters from a WestJet Airlines flight at Vancouver International Airport, in Richmond, B.C., on Thursday, January 21, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Trudeau teases stricter travel measures; Canadians flying to U.S. now need COVID test

Prime minister says measures need to not hurt imports and essential trade

(Photo submitted)
Ponoka RCMP receives new police puppy trainee

Detachment says goodbye to ‘Maja’ and welcomes ‘Neutron’

'The Coronavirus Isn't Scary' by Kristy Walker.
Sylvan Lake author pens first children’s book about COVID-19

“The Coronavirus Isn’t Scary” by Kristy Walker teaches children to take care of themselves

Whistle Stop Cafe owner Christopher Scott and his sister Melodie are serving sit-down customers in their Mirror diner to protest health restrictions that they say are unfair to restaurants and other small businesses. (Photo by Paul Cowley/Advocate staff)
Central Alberta restaurant owner defies health restrictions by serving diners

Whistle Stop Cafe owner says pandemic restrictions unfair to restaurants and small businesses

The Northwest Territories flag flies on a flagpole in Ottawa on July 6, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Alberta man charged with threatening Northwest Territories public health officer

Police did reveal the nature of the threats, but said it was concerning

A healthy volunteer receives an injection in this undated handout image provided by Providence Therapeutics. Human clinical trials have begun in Toronto for a proposed COVID-19 vaccine by a Canadian company. Providence Therapeutics of Calgary says 60 subjects will be monitored for 13 months, with the first results expected next month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Providence Therapeutics
*MANDATORY CREDIT*
Calgary company begins human clinical trials for its COVID-19 vaccine candidate

If successful, the vaccine could be released by the end of the year

Most Read