LETHBRIDGE, AB – The MLA for Lethbridge East is speaking out after a number of his United Conservative colleagues were disciplined by the Premier for travelling outside the country over the Christmas holidays.
The issue of politicians and government officials jetting off to sunny destinations during the COVID-19 pandemic has grown into anger across the province, something Nathan Neudorf says he’s heard plenty about in recent days.
For his part, Neudorf once again reiterated that he and his family stayed here and haven’t left Alberta since the pandemic began.
As for the travel scandal that is plaguing the UCP government right now, Neudorf says they have to work to build back public trust. “We accept those consequences and obviously Albertans have spoken and we’ve made significant changes to address that. We have to continue to get better and do better going forward.”
Premier Jason Kenney has been getting hammered by the public and media alike for being slow to take action. He said last Friday he didn’t feel, as leader, he should be sanctioning members of his government for safe travel, however after massive public backlash, the Premier reversed course this week.
Neudorf says MLAs are humans too and make mistakes. “We have to own that (mistakes) when we do that and we have to work to earn that (public trust) back. The steps we are taking this week are significant. I believe they are and we can work hard to set things right.”
“In response for requests about my personal travel over the Christmas holidays, the recent controversy and actions by our government, I’d first like to reiterate that neither I or my immediate family have left Alberta since the pandemic began.
However, we like many Albertans had hoped to travel on a number of occasions, but each time as we neared those dates, the hope for the milestones of restrictions were not lifted and our plans were cancelled.
COVID-19 has created challenges and uncertainties and restrictions for all of us. Separating parents and grandparents from children and grandchildren and many loved ones. We have new rules, restrictions, bylaws, recommendations, advisories, as well as pilot programs. These have been done to protect lives and livelihoods, but they’re not perfect and have in many cases caused confusion, lacked specific clarity, and even resulted in anger, protest, and backlash.
As the elected member for Lethbridge East, I’ve heard these concerns and we must continue to do better.
Recent travel by some of my colleagues has resulted in them getting removed from their appointments and duties, the most significant of which is Tracy Allard from the Ministry of Municipal Affairs. Actions have consequences whether they’re intended or not and I, we accept these consequences. Tracy is an exceptional MLA. Her work ethic is unparalleled and she genuinely cares for Alberta. I stood with her while she did incredible work on linear assessment with AUMA and RMA and I stand with her as she accepts the consequences of her decisions and look forward to her earning back the trust of all Albertans.”