Alberta Premier Jason Kenney to speak to media Friday

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney to speak to media Friday”

Alberta's Opposition NDP is calling for Municipal Affairs Minister Tracy Allard to step down over reports she took a vacation to Hawaii despite public-health recommendations against unnecessary travel.

He says he immediately contacted Allard upon receiving the information, calling for her to return to Alberta.

Allard tested positive for COVID-19 in October, an infection that forced prominent members of the UCP government, including Kenney, to self-isolate for two weeks. She also worked while she was away.

Alberta has one of the worst records in the country in terms of COVID-19 infections, and Albertans are now under strict health measures similar to those in Quebec.

Minister Tracy Allard reportedly left the country on December 19, and returned Wednesday at the request of her leader.

"She vacationed while Albertans have been sitting in their homes through the holidays, following strict public health orders and separated from family and friends while waiting on the vaccine", Ceci said Thursday in a release.

At the press conference Friday afternoon the premier noted Alberta has taken steps to ensure that safe air travel can take place through the worldwide travel pilot program which has seen 20,000 people take part.

Niki Ashton, an MP for the federal NDP, was removed from her critic roles on Friday after the party said she "travelled to Greece to see a very ill family member".

"But for those of us in leadership, I acknowledge that is not good enough".

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The Premier said he would not punish anyone in his government, but will no longer allow senior government officials to travel overseas unless the trip is for government-related business.

He said he made an error by not issuing a clear directive earlier urging them to remain in the country due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"I'm not happy with this, but I have to take responsibility that I wasn't absolutely clear", he said.

"People are right to be frustrated with that".

He says any United Conservative government officials who were away during the holidays are now back in Canada or they are heading back.

"I really don't believe I can impose sanctions on individuals who did not violate the public health order or the law, who have returned to Canada or are in the process of doing so".

Fir confirmed on her Facebook account.

His statements clash with a directive on the Alberta government's website, which says to avoid non-essential global travel.

Albertans have been urged by provincial health officials to celebrate the holiday season safely and to stay home whenever possible. His position contrasts with Ontario Premier Doug Ford, who criticized former finance minister Rod Phillips for taking a holiday trip to St. Barts. And in Quebec, Liberal assembly member Pierre Arcand was facing heat for a trip with his wife to Barbados. In Saskatchewan, Highways Minister Joe Hargrave apologized for travelling with his wife to Palm Springs, Calif., to complete the sale of a home.

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