6 Alta. government members demoted amid international travel controversy

EDMONTON — Two senior Alberta government members are among seven public officials and staff who are facing consequences after leaving the country in December.

Premier Jason Kenney announced Monday at noon he had accepted resignations from Municipal Affairs Minister Tracy Allard and his own chief of staff, Jamie Huckabay.

As well, Jeremy Nixon will leave his role as parliamentary secretary for civil society and Jason Stephan from Treasury Board.

Three other MLAs – Tanya Fir, Pat Rehn, and Tany Yao – have lost their legislative committee responsibilities, he added.

They, along with Allard, Nixon and Stephan, will remain MLAs.

“By travelling abroad over the holidays, these individuals demonstrated extremely poor judgement,” Kenney said.

“I have listened to Albertans who are sending a clear message that they want real consequences for these actions.”

A week earlier, he had said there’d be no consequences for those in his government who had ignored Alberta’s and Canada’s stay-at-home advice, as he had been responsible for not being “clear enough.”

The deputy leader of the Alberta NDP called the resignations belated and suggested the premier had been “pushed into this position, instead of showing any kind of leadership.”

Six elected officials and three staff from the United Conservative government left Canada in December.

Allard’s family trip “tradition” in Hawaii was among those that sparked the most outrage, alongside Huckabay’s time in the U.K.

Fir visited Las Vegas, Stephan Arizona, and Rehn and FortMcMurray-Wood Buffalo MLA Tany Yao Mexico.

Nixon and two education press secretaries were also in Hawaii.

“It’s the height of arrogance and hypocrisy,” the NDP’s Sarah Hoffman said.

“This is a government that believes they are beyond the rules, that the rules don’t apply to them, that the sacrifices they’re asking everyone else to make is (sic) sacrifices other people need to make, not them.”

The Official Opposition says all of its 24 MLAs spent the holidays in Alberta.

Transportation Minister Ric McIver will fill Allard’s spot on an interim basis and Kenney’s principal secretary Larry Kaumeyer will move become his interim chief of staff.

This is a breaking news story. Information will be updated as it becomes available. 

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