Camrose MLA Jackie Lovely

Letter: Elected officials vacationing during COVID

Opinion

Dear editor,

Many constituents have contacted my office to express their thoughts and feelings regarding travel by several elected officials during the holiday season, and others have asked for my opinion on the matter. Some people are angry that these vacations to sunny destinations outside of the country happened while the rest of us stayed home, many alone for the first time during the holidays. Some received hefty fines for small social gatherings in their homes, while others feel these elected officials did nothing wrong in their decision to travel, having free time and an opportunity to spend it with their families.

I believe the timing of these trips was a mistake. Our Federal and Provincial Governments have closed businesses and schools and demanded people alter their lives. Many people have lost their business while others have lost their jobs or face temporary layoffs. I believe a government has an obligation to protect its people, but I’m tired of the restrictions and I don’t know if what we have given up has helped us achieve any positive result. Last year my family and I went to Mexico immediately after Christmas and we had hoped to travel this year as well, but it was my understanding that non-essential travel was discouraged, so we didn’t go. Like many of you, my large family gathering did not happen. I did not see my daughter or son, my uncles, aunts, cousins or sisters. It was a very quiet Christmas that did not feel good.

I miss our social gatherings, the opportunity to share smiles, sing, handshakes and hugging. In my opinion, having the Minister resign and demoting the vacationing MLAs was the correct decision. Some feel the Premier should have acted sooner. However, he did not want to take a rash or heavy-handed approach to the situation. He needed to allow the travelers time to get home and spend time in their constituencies to experience the anger first hand and allow them the opportunity to do the right thing.

In the meantime, I am happy to speak directly with any constituent who would like to have a conversation and have been doing so for the past several days. Your voice and opinion matter to me.

Kindest regards,

Jackie Lovely, MLA