South Peace News
Peace River MLA Dan Williams has confirmed his whereabouts over Christmas after scandal erupted over multiple government MLAs and staff members travelling to tropical locations even after introducing stricter new COVID restrictions for Albertans.
The scandal has been dubbed ‘Alohagate’ and has already led to the resignation the premier’s Chief of Staff Jamie Huckabay and Tracy Allard’s resignation as Minister of Municipal Affairs. Huckabay travelled to the UK and then returned to Canada via the US after border closures due to the discovery of a more contagious variant of the virus there, and Allard travelled to Hawaii while overseeing the rollout of vaccines in the province.
Lesser Slave Lake MLA Pat Rehn posted a photo of himself at a Mexican resort over Christmas. Slave Lake town council has officially asked him to resign due to his absence in the constituency. Rehn and other MLAs were demoted from their committee duties but will still receive the same level of pay.
“Over the past week, I have had constituents reach out to me regarding Albertan elected leaders travelling internationally. Some have asked about how I spent my Christmas holidays,” Williams says in a statement on his Facebook page.
“I have not travelled internationally and spent my time in Alberta with a combination of personal time and work, resolving provincial related matters for my constituents.”
Williams refers Albertans to the Premier Jason Kenney’s statements on the issue.
His own statement strikes a different tone than Rehn, who didn’t appear very contrite after travelling to Mexico but instead emphasized his work for the community in a Facebook post.
“Albertans who are disappointed in my colleagues’ actions should not be dismissed or ignored” Williams says.
“The truth is, those individuals should not have travelled internationally for a vacation while so many Albertans made sacrifices.”
Williams says the UCP government will work hard as a caucus and as a team to rebuild trust with Albertans.
“I know we have much to do on this front. I believe that being humble and working hard should be the marks of our team as we renew your confidence. I want to assure my constituents that I will continue to represent your interests as your elected representative.”
Many Albertans have continued to call on all of the MLAs who travelled to resign, and #ResignKenney has also trended for multiple days on Twitter.