Though the resignations and reprimands are a massive shift, a Calgary political scientist says the actions of travelling UCP members won’t be dismissed quickly by Albertans.
“It’s the kind of hypocrisy that people feel where they live. They’ve been making enormous sacrifices for 10 months now,” said Lori Williams with Mount Royal University.
“This is really something that affects how people feel and I don’t think that will quickly be forgotten.”
Lia Lousier is one person who says she won’t be quick to forget. Lousier’s son, Braeden, was supposed to go on his Make-A-Wish trip in 2020, but the trip was cancelled.
The nine-year-old boy has Hajdu-Cheney syndrome, a rare genetic disorder affecting his organs, bones and cognitive abilities. Doctors say he isn’t likely to live into his teens, his mom said.
Braeden has been hospitalized for long periods several times and was supposed to go to Hawaii last year.
“My first reaction certainly was anger and frustration and just disbelief ,” Lousier told CTV News at the Alberta Children’s Hospital on Monday.
She says Braeden’s condition had stabilized enough to travel in 2020, but the pandemic and government advisories against travel made that impossible. Lousier thinks Monday’s changes within the UCP are too little, too late.
“I think that they’ve truly lost any ability to really associate with the general public,” she said.
Williams points out the anger at the UCP is coming from all sides of Alberta’s political spectrum and there are still plenty the public wants to know.
“I think there are going to be continued questions — both because of the time it took for (Kenney) to take this seriously enough and the fact that he’s not taking personal responsibility for what he had to have known what they were doing,” Williams said.
Grande Prairie MLA Tracy Allard resigned from her role as municipal affairs minister on Monday after travelling to Hawaii with her family over the holidays and Premier Jason Kenney's chief of staff, Jamie Huckabay, stepped down from his role after travelling to the U.K.
Ric McIver will serve as the interim minister of municipal affairs and Larry Kaumeyer, the premier's principal secretary, will serve as interim chief of staff.
MLA Jeremy Nixon also resigned from his role as parliamentary secretary for civil society and MLA Jason Stephan resigned from the treasury board after admitting to travelling over the holidays.
MLAs Tanya Fir, Pat Rehn and Tany Yao have also lost their legislature committee responsibilities. Fir (Calgary-Peigan) visited Las Vegas, Nevada over the holidays while Yao (Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo) and Rehn (Lesser Slave Lake) took separate trips to Mexico.