January 18, 2021

Kenny instructs MLAs not to leave Canada unless engaged in government business after ministerial leave

Following the news of Alberta Municipal Affairs Minister Tracy Alert’s Hawaii vacation, Prime Minister Jason Kenny took responsibility for not being clear about travel rules for MLAs. It also ordered the government on Friday that MLAs should not leave the country.

According to Kenny, Alert is now home to the Grande Prairie. He said he still works and participates in calls while he is on vacation with his family.

He said he would not allow Alert or others in the government who traveled because they had not violated the law, and that it was not clear to staff whether they should travel or not.

Kenny said any United Conservative Party government officials who were abroad during the holidays are now returning or returning to Alberta. He believes they all comply with any isolated or legal requirements that everyone must follow if they travel.

“I immediately contacted the minister and asked him to return to Alberta, and he did,” Kenny told a news conference. He said he learned Alert was in Hawaii on Tuesday.

“Nevertheless, I feel that those in positions of public trust should maintain a higher standard of our personal conduct than is expected of those in the public sphere.”

Alert apologizes

At a telephone news conference on Friday afternoon, Alert expressed regret and called his trip “less of a verdict.”

“There was no malicious intent, however, I did the damage and I really apologize for that,” he said.

“I’m sorry to Albertans who trusted me, thinking they could not at this time.”

Alert said he has spent Christmas in Hawaii with his family for the past 17 years. He also said he felt he had complied with the current health mandate through the International Border Testing Program, which allows for a shorter isolation period following a negative COVID-19 test.

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“However, as Minister of the Crown, I know I am of a high standard. Looking back, I definitely made the wrong decision.”

The minister said he would continue to support the government and try to regain the confidence of its members.

Resign, NDP insists

Opposition NDP Alert called for his resignation.

“While the Alberts were sitting in their homes during the holidays, he was on vacation, following strict public health orders and being separated from family and friends while waiting for the vaccine,” NDP municipal affairs commentator Joe CC said in a news release Thursday.

Kenny said he believed the Caucasus members and other staff who traveled during the holidays were acting on “what they believed was good,” but reiterated that it was not enough.

“It’s right for people to be dissatisfied,” he said.

He called the trip a “significant error in judgment.”

Ontario’s Finance Minister Rod Phillips also said he had “made a significant mistake in the verdict” and resigned after returning from a trip to St Barts on Thursday. Quebec Liberal member Pierre Arcond regretted his decision to travel to Barbados with his wife earlier this week.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was in Canada during the holidays, his spokesman confirmed. Alex Wellstead, who addressed the travel rumors, said Trudeau was at home with his family.