Alberta Premier Jason Kenney listens as the 2021 budget is delivered in Edmonton on Feb. 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

Alberta premier says sorry for breaking COVID-19 health rules with rooftop dinner

EDMONTON — Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, facing mounting criticism in cabinet and caucus, says he is sorry for breaking COVID-19 rules at a dinner party caught on camera.

Kenney says he thought he and other cabinet ministers were keeping the required two-metre distance, but says they have since measured the chair lengths and realized they were not far enough apart.

The premier, saying leaders must set a higher standard, says he takes full responsibility for the mistake and apologizes.

Last week, Kenney repeatedly said dinner and drinks on the patio of the Federal Building on Tuesday did not break any health rules, despite photos of the event leaked to media showing participants close together.

The patio meeting and Kenney’s denial sparked a renewed wave of pushback from his own United Conservative caucus, including from two cabinet ministers. Leela Aheer and Rajan Sawhney.

One of them, Culture Minister Leela Aheer, said on the weekend that the photo was problematic for those who have been following public health orders and urged Kenney to apologize.

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