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UCP Minister may lose cabinet spot as Albertans express frustration over MLAs’ Christmas vacations

Last Updated Jan 4, 2021 at 8:48 am MDT

CALGARY (CityNews) – Public outrage in Alberta remains high two days after Premier Jason Kenney confirmed numerous MLAs had vacationed outside the province.

Now, there are reports that one UCP minister may lose their job over this ordeal.

There are reports that Grande Prairie MLA Tracy Allard will no longer be the Municipal Affairs Minister by the end of Monday but no no clarification if that means she’ll resign or be let go.

LISTEN: Reporter Saif Kaisar has the latest

Kenney issued an order on Friday forbidding all his caucus members and senior staff from travelling outside Canada unless it’s for government business.

That didn’t quiet the outcry over the weekend.

“This situation that has happened, this scandal, shows you that the public will not countenance any effort for people to look out for loopholes in a pandemic situation,” said Chaldeans Mensah, a political scientist at McEwan University.

A total eight members of Kenney’s United Conservative government spent the holiday outside Alberta:

  • Pat Rehn (Lesser Slave Lake)
  • Jason Stephan (Red Deer South)
  • Tracy Allard (municipal affairs minister)
  • Jeremy Nixon (Calgary-Klein)
  • Tanya Fir (Calgary-Peigan)
  • Jamie Huckabay (Kenney’s chief of staff)
  • Matt Wolf (Kenney’s executive director of issues management)
  • Tany Yao (Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo)

Albertans expressed their frustrations online over the weekend.

On Twitter, some users called for their MLAs to be fired. Meanwhile the hashtags #ResignKenney and #FireKenney were trending in both the province and across Canada.

The premier said Friday that his MLAs would not face punishment because he didn’t issue a specific directive about not travelling.

“These politicians have put themselves in a very difficult situation and people are not going to be lenient in how they react,” said Mensah. “Because they see that they are making sacrifices in terms of their personal lives, and they expect the people who are putting forth these recommendations to control their behaviour.”

WATCH: Alberta’s energy minister travelled out of province for home repairs

In an emailed statement, Alberta NDP Chief of Staff Jeremy Nolais said the opposition party’s own MLAs did not leave their homes over the holidays.

“Every single MLA and caucus staff member has been in the province for the duration of the holidays and continues to be,” he wrote.

“It never occurred to anyone to leave the province, especially once the more strict measures came into place. We take the public health orders seriously.”