January 18, 2021

Alberta Cabinet Minister, Prime Ministerial staff resigns on holiday, other MLAs sacked

Alberta Prime Minister Jason Kenny has accepted the resignations of Grande Prairie MLA Tracy Alard as Minister of Municipal Affairs and his chief of staff, Jamie Huckabee.

They join a growing body of politicians across Canada who have agreed to travel outside the country despite contagious restrictions, which in some cases could lead to resignations. Among them was Rod Phillips, former Ontario finance minister, a progressive Conservative; Liberal MP Kamal Kera; And the new Democratic MP. Niki Ashton.

In a Facebook post on Monday, Kenny said they had fired five United Conservative MLAs who had traveled internationally during the holidays.

Calgary-Klein MLA Jeremy Nixon has been fired as parliamentary secretary of civil society, while Red Man-South MLA Jason Stephen has been removed from the Treasury Board.

Three MLAs, Calgary-Beacon’s Tanya Fir, Ford McMurray-Wood Buffalo’s Danny Yao and Lesser Slave Lake’s Pat Rehn, have been removed from their seats.

Kenny said Transport Minister Rick McIver will take over municipal affairs until a new minister is appointed. The current principal secretary, Larry Coumeyer, will serve as interim chief executive.

“Millions of Albertans have made real sacrifices over the past 10 months to help keep each other safe. It is only right that they should be angry at those in positions of leadership coming out of the country,” Kenny wrote.

“By going abroad during the holidays, these individuals revealed a very bad judgment.”

Kenny’s announcement comes after Alberton’s harsh criticism of vacation trips.

The call for Kenny and Alert to resign has dominated social media, while MLAs have been bombarded with emails and phone calls from angry members.

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CBC News first confirmed that Alert was in Hawaii during the holidays on December 31st. The next day, Kenny held a news conference, at which point he told Alberton that it was a mistake not to tell MLAs not to travel – even though public health officials had been advising against unnecessary international travel for months.

A few hours later, Alert held a press conference and apologized for making the trip. But in a statement covering up his fate, he explained that the Hawaii Christmas trip was an annual tradition for his family.

This sparked further outrage from Albertans, who began listing the traditions, travel and meetings they abandoned this year due to COVID-19.

Hakkabe, who went to the UK on holiday, was asked to resign, the prime minister said in a statement.

Over the weekend, the journey of more MLAs was revealed: Fir was in Las Vegas; Nixon was in Hawaii; Rehn and Yao visited Mexico. Stephen left for Arizona on December 31, when the news of Alert’s trip became public.