Premier Jason Kenney announced January 4 that six Alberta MLAs have resigned from or lost their ministerial status or cabinet committee roles as a fallout from traveling out of the country over the holiday season and during the pandemic restrictions period. The Premier’s Chief of Staff has resigned from his position, and his Principal Secretary has been appointed Interim Chief of Staff.
The first report from the Premier that former Minister of Municipal Affairs and Grande Prairie MLA Tracey Allard had travelled to Hawaii was January 1. At that time, the Premier stated that there would be “clear directives” for government officials, including support staff, not to travel internationally. Allard held a news conference to apologize for making it appear that she was at home in her social media posts and stated that the Hawaii trip was an annual Christmas tradition for her family. That further exacerbated the public outcry particularly when families from different households were not permitted to be together during the Christmas season. Minister of Transportation Ric McIver will take on the Municipal Affairs portfolio until a new minister is appointed.
Drumheller-Stettler MLA Nate Horner stated that it was a strange scenario. Horner came home from the legislature session and felt worn out. When he came home to be with his family and heard about it he was more than disappointed.
“They did not mean it maliciously; it was bad judgment. It’s not enough to talk about what’s legal and what’s not legal. Hinshaw has always said we hope people follow the spirit of restrictions and intentions.” Nate Horner, MLA D
He hopes everyone knows the impact of Minister Allard’s portfolio being taken away and the committee roles of the MLAs being removed as those meant a lot to the MLAs. He does not condone their actions but hopes they learn from their actions. There have been numerous calls and emails from constituents to his office, and the far majority expect the MLAs to be better and be above it.
The five other MLAs include Calgary-Klein MLA Jeremy Nixon, Calgary-Peigan MLA Tanya Fir, Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo MLA Tony Yao, Lesser Slave Lake MLA Pat Rehn and Red Deer-South MLA Jason Stephan. The Premier has removed Nixon as the parliamentary secretary for civil society and Stephan as a member of the Treasury Board. Fir, Yao and Rehn have been removed from committees they sat on.
Jody Craig, Reporter