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UCP minister Allard soaking up Hawaiian sun during lockdown

That’s despite a direct order from Premier Jason Kenney to his caucus to stay close to home during his provincial lockdown.

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Alberta UCP Municipal Affairs Minister Tracy Allard has added her name to the Rogue’s Gallery of Canadian politicians ignoring their own government’s requests to avoid unnecessary travel during the COVID-19 lockdown.

Instead, Allard has been enjoying the sun, surf and sand of Hawaii, while Alberta remains in a full winter pandemic lockdown, CBC is reporting.

That’s despite a direct order from Premier Jason Kenney to his caucus to stay close to home during his provincial lockdown.

A similar faux paux cost Ontario Finance Minister Rod Phillips his job Thursday after he was caught dipping his toes in warm Caribbean seas while his province is in lockdown.

Quebec Liberal member Pierre Arcand is now being asked to return home amid mounting criticism over his decision to vacation in the Caribbean.

The federal, Alberta, Quebec and Ontario governments have all issued health restrictions which have included recommendations against non-essential travel.

CBC reported that they have confirmed with sources that the Grande Prairie MLA – who was appointed to the senior cabinet position in August – was in Hawaii this month on a family vacation. CBC sources told them she returned to the frozen lands of Alberta on Wednesday.

Allard’s press secretary, Justin Marshall, did not respond to repeated requests for clarification on whether she had been out of the country this month, CBC reported.

Marshall would only say the minister is now home in Grande Prairie, “mostly relaxing but with some work, too.”

Sources told the CBC that prior to the Christmas break, Premier Jason Kenney advised his caucus to remain in Alberta for the holidays. 

In Ontario, a furious Premier Doug Ford announced he had accepted Phillip’s resignation on Thursday morning, shortly after the MPP returned from a luxury holiday in St. Barts.

“Today, following my conversation with Rod Phillips, I have accepted his resignation as Ontario’s Minister of Finance,” Ontario Premier Doug Ford said in a statement Thursday.

“At a time when the people of Ontario have sacrificed so much, today’s resignation is a demonstration that our government takes seriously our obligation to hold ourselves to a higher standard,” he said.

Phillips and his wife had left Canada on December 13, following the end of the legislative session, and travelled to the Caribbean island of St. Bart’s.

Although Phillips didn’t violate any federal or provincial travel restrictions, he nonetheless apologized for making the trip.

“It was a significant error in judgment – a dumb, dumb mistake, I apologize for it, I regret it.”

In Alberta, Agriculture Minister Devin Dreeshan made a joke out the political scandal by sending out a photo of himself on an ice-covered lake but geotagged it from being sent it St. Bart’s.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
Twitter.com/nobby7694

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard and the Vice-President: News Editor of Western Standard New Media Corp. He has served as the City Editor of the Calgary Sun and has covered Alberta news for nearly 40 years. dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

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6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Mars Hill

    January 1, 2021 at 12:32 pm

    The CBC will go on to tell us during the election that this stuff filters down from the Conservative leadership of Erin O’Toole and he does not have the moral authority to lead Canada….. I’m serious!

  2. Charles Martell III

    January 1, 2021 at 10:40 am

    Rules for Thee . . . . but not for Me !

    Typical useless “Politician” . . . they should be changed every election cycle.

  3. That's Dr. #SAND to you...

    January 1, 2021 at 7:53 am

    But she’s a public servant!
    You know, she serves the public and stuff!

    Just ask her.

  4. working ant

    January 1, 2021 at 6:53 am

    It would be interesting to learn if there are other elected officials from municipal, provincial or federal jurisdictions and regardless of political affiliation, who flew off to an out-of-country vacation.

  5. John

    December 31, 2020 at 7:31 pm

    I suggest Ms. Allard step down as minister for municipal affairs and vacate her seat in the legislature and let the people in GP do the right thing and vote in a WIPA MLA.

  6. GeorgeOlduvai

    December 31, 2020 at 7:15 pm

    Rogue not Rouge. Hire a goddamn editor!

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Alberta gov’t granted injunction to ban weekend protest at Whistle Stop Cafe

Chris Scott and others, outraged by the province’s lockdown regulations, planned to protest the closure with a campout over the weekend adjacent to the restaurant.

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It hasn’t even happened yet, but an Alberta court has already ruled a weekend protest at the Whistle Stop Cafe is illegal.

The Court of Queen’s Bench has granted a pre-emptive injunction against, Chris Scott, the owner of Whistle Stop, because the restaurant plans to host a rally over the upcoming weekend called the “Save Alberta Campout Protest.” The injunction was granted at the request of Alberta Health Services (AHS), an agency under Health Minister Tyler Shandro.

Last week, the RCMP raided the establishment and carted away all its booze. On Wednesday, the RCMP and AHS officials showed up en masse and padlocked the building.

Undeterred, Scott continued cooking pancakes, making burgers and serving coffee to his customers in the parking lot outside his shuttered restaurant. The UCP government recently banned outdoor patio service for restaurants.

He and others, outraged by the province’s lockdown regulations, planned to protest the closure with a campout over the weekend adjacent to the restaurant.

But the AHS, which sought the injunction, said the judge ruled it illegal because it would not comply with public health restrictions on mandatory masking, attendance limits, and social distancing.

“The order restrains the owner and others from organizing, promoting and attending the event and includes police enforcement and imposes significant consequences on the organizers of this event,” AHS said in a statement to media.

“AHS has taken this step due to the ongoing risk to Albertans created by those breaching COVID-19 public health restrictions.”

The Western Standard has reached out to Scott but hasn’t heard back on what effect the injunction will have. Scott said earlier in the day he will now seek elected office by running for the Wildrose Independence Party in the upcoming 2023 election.

Scott is the only gas station or restaurant in Mirror, a town of about 500, 50 km northeast of Red Deer, and now he’s seeing people from all over the province stopping in.

“The law is garbage – it”s doing more harm than good,” said Scott in an earlier interview with the Western Standard.

“If they want to throw me in jail for trying to earn a living, go ahead,” said Scott.

Scott has owned the cafe since July 2019, but it has been a fixture in town since 1967.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
Twitter.com/nobby7694

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EXCLUSIVE: UCP Secretary quits over ‘lies’

Smith has worked with conservative parties since 1976.

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The former secretary of Alberta’s United Conservative Party (UCP) says she decided to resign from the board because she “was tired of all the lies.”

In an exclusive interview with the Western Standard, Cathy Smith said she handed in her notice on April 6, after a string of statements and actions about the COVID-19 pandemic by Premier Jason Kenney.

Smith said the beginning of the end started when Kenney held a press conference over COVID-19 and warned of a pandemic so extreme there would be “body bags coming out of McMahon Stadium.”

“I said to myself ‘Are you kidding me’. There will never be body bags coming out of McMahon Stadium,” said Smith.

“I know nurses. Nurses at the time told me there was nothing going on in their hospitals.”

Smith said Kenney then started to condemn the “right-wing, the conspiracy theorists.”

“I said wait a minute, I’m right-wing. And then the way we treated Dr. (Dennis) Modry. I thought this wasn’t the right way to represent our 40,000 members,” she said.

Kenney and Modry have been in a battle of letters. Modry published an open letter to the premier on the Western Standard saying lockdowns don’t work. The letter went viral and has been viewed hundreds of thousands of time. It took Kenney three months to reply with his own letter.

As party secretary, Smith dealt with more than 100 e-mails, either from party members or people who voted for the UCP, about how the lockdowns were affecting their lives.

“We had an e-mail from a family whose grandfather died because his heart operation had been postponed. I e-mailed everyone back. I explained I was not writing as a representative of the party. I told them I didn’t agree with what the party was doing,” Smith said.

Smith said she was aware of a group of men in Medicine Hat who went to high school together – 20 of whom have committed suicide since the pandemic started.

“I told everyone to get involved at the (constituency association) level if they really want to make change,” Smith said.

She said the last straw for her was when Kenney appeared on talk show host Danielle Smith’s last show on QR77 and said he wasn’t aware the party board had approved a leadership vote in 2022, just six months before the next election.

“I was just tired of all the lies, Kenney pretended he didn’t know about the leadership vote. I thought ‘This is not the way — where’s the trust’,” Smith said.

“I was tired of all the lockdowns (without proof they work). But I said to myself, I will never quit, never, never, never.”

Finally, after talking to several other board members, Smith handed in her notice.

Smith has worked with conservative parties since 1976. As to where she will vote in the next election: “I’m still waiting.”

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
Twitter.com/nobby7694

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WATCH: Alberta’s costume lady forced to sell treasure trove of outfits because of lockdowns

“Fifteen months later, there is no coming back.”

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It took Vickie Friesen more than 30 years of sewing to create 5,000 different costumes – everything from pirates to princesses.

Now, after a year of COVID-19 lockdowns, she is being forced to sell the lot.

Friesen and her husband, Darrell can no longer afford to keep their Three Hills Tickle Trunk outlet open and the business running after income vanished after lockdowns banned everything from school plays to Halloween.

Some of Vickie’s creations

“We just can’t afford to stay in business. There’s no theatre, there’s no parades, there’s no parties,” Vicki told the Western Standard on Thursday.

“In 2019, we were busy every week of the year with rentals. 2019 was booming. It was fabulous.

“Once word of our business got around, we started having the same customers repeated over and over. I started to ask customers to ask me what costumes we didn’t have, it was just easier.

“Now, nothing.”

Vicki recalled she sent out costumes for shows last March, but after the lockdowns, the costumes were returned and customers wanted their money back.

“Everything came back. I sat by the phone, but it didn’t ring anymore,” said Vicki.

Roman centurion outfit

“Fifteen months later, there is no coming back.”

The couple has made the heartbreaking decision they will have to sell all the costumes. A sale will be held at the store the next two Saturdays. A deal to sell their building should be signed next week.

All kid’s costumes will be sold for $10. Adult merchandise is 50% off, between $25 and $50 at their Three Hills store at 519 Main Street.

Need a storm trooper outfit? It will be there along with full ball gowns, Second World War uniforms and German lederhosen. Antique furniture is also on sale.

“They are all going for a song,” Vicki said, regret in her voice.

But some of the stuff they aren’t parting with includes all their Christmas outfits. The couple created a costumed “Christmas Convoy” through the town last year, and plan on repeating it, all over the province if asked.

Mr. and Mrs. Claus… really the Frieses

The couple did receive some federal COVID-19 aide which went to fixing a leak in the building, but not enough to even cover basic utilities.

Vickie proudly boast she has shipped her costumes all over the province: “From High Level to High Prairie.”

Tickle Trunk promo

She started sewing as a kid in Manitoba, creating costumes for theatre troupes and school plays. She also handmade graduation dresses for area high schoolers.

She stored her works of art in a 12×12 granary but it soon became full.

The Friesens and their two young children decided to move to Alberta and they set up shop in Three Hills, eventually buying a building in which to operate their business and store their dresses.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
Twitter.com/nobby7694

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