MLA Comments on Travel Controversy

MLA Armstrong-Homeniuk Comments on Travel Controversy

Michelle Pinon
News Advertiser

While several of Fort Saskatchewan-Vegreville MLA Jackie Armstrong-Homeniuk’s colleagues chose to travel abroad during Christmas holidays, she says she chose to stay home for the holidays.

She released a written statement on January 5 when asked for comment by the News Advertiser. Armstrong-Homeniuk stated, “I personally spent the Christmas break with my family in the riding, We were fortunate to have been able to meet with extended family and friends by Zoom or Facetime.

I will admit that I am disappointed, but I am very happy that we have a Premier that has listened to Albertans concerns regarding accountability, and has taken appropriate action. Our province can now turn the page and get back to the business of managing the COVID-19 pandemic, and an Alberta Recovery.

I look forward to the time when we can openly visit with family and friends, travel freely, and have hope that things will get better in 2021, and all of the sacrifices Albertans have made will ensure that we can put the pandemic and these unprecedented times behind us.”

Over the past weekend it was reported that Municipal Affair Minister Tracy Allard was spending Christmas in Hawaii, a “family tradition” that Allard said she had done for the past 17 years since he youngest child was born.

Other MLA’s caught travelling abroad during December were: MLA Tanya Fir, Pat Rehn, Jason Stephan, Jeremy Nixon, Tany Yao, Jason Stephan. Premier Kenney’s Chief of Staff Jamie Huckabay returned from the United Kingdom despite a flight ban from travelling through the U.S. Allard and Huckabay have resigned from their positions.

On New Year’s Day during a press conference Premier Kenney said he would not discipline members of his government and staff who had travelled abroad over the holidays in contravention of public health advice.

At that time he stated, “I don’t think it’s reasonable for me as a leader to sanction people who very carefully followed public health orders and the legal requirements.”

However, on January 4 Kenney announced the resignation of Allard and that Huckabay stepped down as his chief of staff at his request.

Several MLA’s had been stripped of their committee roles in response to their international travel during the holidays amidst the pandemic. MLA Jeremy Nixon resigned from his role as parliamentary secretary for civil society, and MLA Jason Stephan resigned from from the treasury board. Fir, Rehn and Yao lost their legislature committee responsibilities.

Transportation Minister Ric McIver will take over Municipal Affairs until a new minister is appointed and Larry Kaumeyer will serve as interim chief of staff.