A United Conservative Party MLA has taken to social media to voice her displeasure after Premier Jason Kenney, along with members of his cabinet, were photographed “wining and dining” on the Sky Palace patio.
“Looking at these photos it seems clear to me that several health restrictions were violated,” Angela Pitt, UCP MLA for Airdrie-East, said in a Facebook post Friday.
“Much of the public concern about this incident has been about the hypocrisy of senior officials breaking their own rules. I can certainly understand these concerns.”
The current Stage 1 restrictions allow restaurants to operate patio-only service for up to four household members per table, or three people if diners who live alone are with their two close contacts.
“The premier had a restaurant dinner on his patio with seven friends, and it remains unclear to Albertans why a restaurant owner can’t have larger groups on their patio,” said Pitt.
“I am calling on the premier today to make the rules more consistent, to give businesses fairness, and to allow restaurants to safely operate in the same fashion in which the premier just portrayed.”
Pitt said it pains her to watch the mall businesses in her community being the “constant target” of government restrictions.
“I see the extreme amounts of uncertainty. I see the unmeasurable levels of creative problem-solving being invested into working with COVID-19 restrictions, only for the restrictions to change over and over again,” she said.
“I see the stress on so many suffering business owners and their families, and I know as well as every other Albertan that many of these businesses will not make it.”
On Thursday, Kenney said he and his ministers made every “reasonable” effort to comply with health rules during the surreptitiously photographed whiskey-drinks dinner.
“(We) were fully compliant with the rules and we encourage all Albertans to get out there, enjoy the summer as we continue to relax the public health measures,” Kenney told the house during question period.
NDP Deputy Leader Sarah Hoffman said “Kenney promised Albertans in April that if members of his caucus broke COVID-19 restrictions, or encouraged others to do so, that they would be removed from his caucus.”
“But that promise apparently doesn’t apply to Kenney and his SkyPalace drinking buddies,” Hoffman said.
—With files from The Canadian Press