An Alberta MLA recently wished Facebook friends a ‘Merry Christmas’ from an adventure park near Cancun, Mexico, despite having also posted government messaging encouraging Albertans to stay home.
On Dec. 24, Pat Rehn, MLA for Lesser Slave Lake, posted a photo of himself in a blue t-shirt with the caption, “Merry Christmas from our cave to yours.”
The photo appears to have been taken at Xplor Park, a theme park in Playa Del Carmen.
Rehn’s own profile picture, which shows him standing with three other men in cowboy hats, includes a banner reading “Stay home save lives.”
The branded messaging is used by the Alberta government, which has also advised against non-essential international travel.
Albertans have been urged repeatedly by provincial health officials to celebrate the holiday season safely and to stay home whenever possible.
Rehn was elected in 2019 as a member of the United Conservative Party.
CTV News Edmonton contacted Rehn and the premier’s office for comment but has not received a response.
NDP CALLS FOR MUNICIPAL AFFAIRS MINISTER’S RESIGNATION
The Alberta NDP called on the United Conservative Party to reveal how many of its cabinet ministers and MLAs have travelled outside of Canada since the start of December against official advice.
“They owe it to all of us to explain who is not at their post during what is likely the worst public health emergency Albertans have ever faced,” NDP Municipal Affairs Critic Joe Ceci said in a written statement.
He called Thursday for the resignation of Municipal Affairs Minister Tracey Allard following media reports she was recently in Hawaii.
The press secretaries for Allard’s and the premier’s offices did not respond to CTV News Edmonton’s request for confirmation and comment.
So far, Rehn is the only known provincially elected official in Alberta to have travelled internationally over the holiday break.
On Wednesday, the UCP faced criticism after photos surfaced of two education press secretaries apparently vacationing in Hawaii. Michael Forian, press secretary for education minister Adriana LaGrange, removed two social media accounts after the photos, which he posted on Instagram, began circulating.
International holiday outings have become a political trend. Ontario Finance Minister Rod Phillips spent Christmas in the Caribbean despite social media posts suggesting he was still in Canada and against public health advice.
Phillips resigned within hours of returning to Canada, calling his vacation “a significant error in judgment – a dumb, dumb mistake.”