Allard resigns from cabinet, other Alberta MLAs who vacationed abroad lose government roles

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Tracy Allard has resigned as Minister of Municipal Affairs and five other MLAs have lost roles within the government, but all are still members of the UCP and continue to hold office.

On Monday, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney announced on his Facebook page that he accepted Allard's resignation from cabinet and has asked his Chief of Staff Jamie Huckabay to step down as well, which he did. Huckabay had travelled to the United Kingdom.

"I have also accepted the resignation of MLA Jeremy Nixon as Parliamentary Secretary for Civil Society and MLA Jason Stephan from Treasury Board. They as well as MLAs Tanya Fir, Pat Rehn, and (Tanya) Yao have lost their Legislature committee responsibilities," Kenney said.

The move comes after days of controversy as news broke that politicians and government staffers had travelled abroad over the holidays.

Allard, the MLA for Grande Prairie, apologized last week for travelling to Hawaii. The former minister left on Dec. 19 for the trip, which she called a long-standing family tradition.

"We have been going to Hawaii for most of the past 17 years since our youngest child was born," she said.

Allard said she travelled with just her daughter and husband, but not her two sons, who are not part of her household.

"We did make the decision to travel with my immediate household, which is my husband and my daughter," she said.

"We were confident that we were fully compliant with Alberta's current health mandate."

Nixon, MLA for Calgary-Klein, also travelled to Hawaii.

Rehn, MLA for Lesser Slave Lake, travelled to Mexico.

Yao, MLA for Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo, also travelled to Mexico.

Stephan, MLA for Red Deer-South, travelled to Arizona.

Fir, MLA for Calgary-Peigan, travelled to Las Vegas.

Huckabay, the premier's chief of staff, travelled to the U.K.

Minister of Energy Sonya Savage also travelled to a property she owns in British Columbia over the holidays for what her staff called "essential maintenance."

Savage was not included in the list of MLAs facing repercussions for their actions.

The governments of Alberta and British Columbia have both asked people to avoid all non-essential travel during the pandemic.

Matt Wolf, the premier's executive director of issues management, said he travelled to Saskatchewan over the holidays to stay with his parents was not included on the list of staff losing positions over their decisions to travel.

On Monday, Kenney said in a Facebook post that Albertans have every right to expect that people in positions of public trust be held to a higher standard of conduct during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Millions of Albertans have made real sacrifices over the past 10 months to help keep each other safe. They are right to be angry about people in positions of leadership vacationing outside of the country," Kenney said.

Transportation Minister Ric McIver will serve as interim Minister of Municipal Affairs, and Principal Secretary Larry Kaumeyer will serve as interim Chief of Staff.

Last Friday in a press conference Kenney said he had not been clear enough with the members of the government caucus and others in positions of leadership to not travel abroad.

"Over the weekend, I have listened to Albertans who are sending a clear message that they want real consequences for these actions."

"By travelling abroad over the holidays, these individuals demonstrated extremely poor judgment."

Jennifer Henderson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, St. Albert Gazette