'Difficult to believe that the premier didn’t know': Questions still surround UCP holiday getaways
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney and Quebec Premier Francois Legault leave a press conference in Ottawa on Friday, Sept. 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
CALGARY -- Outrage continues to pour in over the decisions of at least eight UCP MLAs and a number of staffers to travel despite advice from both the provincial and federal governments.
It’s also, according to some Albertans, brought in new questions about what the Premier did and didn’t know about the holiday trips.
KENNEY'S CONFERENCE 'INSULTING': FORMER MLA
Scott Cyr, who was elected to Bonnyville-Cold Lake under Alberta's Wildrose Party in 2015, said Kenney's apology on Friday rung hollow with many Albertans.
"The premier's office is saying that they didn't know. This is insulting for everybody," he told CTV News in an interview Sunday.
Kenney told reporters on Friday he wasn’t aware of who was and wasn’t out until the news became public.
But Cyr — along with some political experts — dispute the claim.
Lisa Young with the University of Calgary says there’s a likelihood Kenney isn’t telling the truth.
"It’s difficult to believe the premier didn’t know — particularly about one of his more senior cabinet ministers," she said.
Cyr says he believes Kenney "micromanages" his government, and so there’s no way the news could’ve gotten past him as travel arrangements were made.
"Even in the Opposition, you were very careful when you were travelling, especially when you left the country," he said.
Cyr believes the premier is quickly losing support, saying that none of his government members or party staff who went against government advice will be disciplined.
He also says he is in the same boat as many Albertans who feel they've been cheated by supporting the UCP in the last election.
"I'm seeing right now people who are saying, 'I don't know where I'm going to vote in the next election or if I'm going to vote next election,'" he said.
"I put my faith in Kenney like most Albertans and I'm very concerned to see that trust may have been misplaced."
EXPERT SAYS KENNEY NEEDS TO 'CHANGE THE CHANNEL'
Young, who is a prominent Calgary political scientist, believes Kenney needs to draw focus away from the scandal with a strong showing in January.
“The most winning strategy for Kenney at this point is to focus public attention on what has to be an exceptional vaccination campaign,” Young said. “(He’s) managed to unite the right and left in Alberta in being angry at him.”
That anger was noticeable around the province Sunday.
Some have called for Kenney to step down, with the hashtag #ResignKenney trending on Twitter over the weekend.
That wasn’t all.
Some, who have dubbed the scandal “Alohagate,” set up a sign in front of Minister Tracy Allard’s constituency office. The sign has Hawaiian leis on it and includes some Christmas cards detailing what other Albertans gave up over the holidays as the pandemic continues on.
Others used the hashtag as an opportunity to recall a broken promise the UCP made during the last provincial election to implement a process to fire MLAs who had lost the trust of their constituents.