Alberta’s premier takes action after lawmakers’ holiday travels

Theophilos Argitis January 04, 2021

(Bloomberg) --Alberta Premier Jason Kenney took disciplinary action against a number of lawmakers and officials who defied Covid-19 travel guidelines over the holidays, as the leader of Canada’s oil-rich province tries to stem a growing scandal.

In a statement posted on Twitter Monday, Kenney announced that one cabinet minister, Tracy Allard, along with his chief staff will be stepping down from their posts after revelations the two traveled abroad in recent weeks. The premier also unveiled sanctions against five other lawmakers who left the country, revoking their legislative or government roles.

It’s a dramatic response to what has become a major public embarrassment to Kenney’s United Conservative Party. But the controversy transcends Alberta politics. In recent days, Canadians have been gripped by a steady flow of public officials across the country acknowledging they traveled abroad despite health officials advising citizens not to leave. New restrictions on social gatherings over the holidays have also fanned public outrage.

Last week, Rod Phillips was forced to step down as Ontario’s finance minister after news leaked that he was vacationing in the Caribbean. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government announced Sunday that it had sanctioned two lawmakers over recent trips.

Allard, the municipal affairs minister, had traveled to Hawaii. Kenney’s chief of staff, Jamie Huckabay, visited the UK.

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