fter a week of repeated attempts to get Banff-Kananaskis MLA Miranda Rosin to answer a simple question about where she spent Christmas, her constituents finally have an answer – she visited family in Saskatchewan.
Even though we now have the answer to a very pertinent question Albertans and Bow Valley residents have been asking of their elected officials, it did not come from Rosin herself.
In fact, her travels to another province during a pandemic when despite recommendations by public health officials against non-essential travel are excused.
Director of communications for the UCP caucus Tim Gerwing provided a statement to the Outlook on Wednesday (Jan. 13), claiming that MLA Rosin lives alone.
That, combined with the fact that both provinces permitted individuals who live alone to join another household for Christmas, means that when she travelled to spend Christmas with her parents, she did not technically break any rules.
While we are glad that the UCP and Rosin have found a loophole for her to save some political skin during what has been a damaging scandal for the current government, we take issue with the fact that getting an answer from our elected representative was like pulling teeth.
When Premier Jason Kenney announced just before Christmas that those who live alone in the province could join another household for the holidays, we must of missed the part where that included travel to other provinces.
This flexibility in the restrictions was a welcome relief for those who live alone to be able to have others to spend a very different Christmas with. Those that we know who visited another household, did so within their own community. By doing so, they avoided travelling long distances and they also spent a short period of time in another household, not days.
Given the fact that several MLAs from the UCP caucus didn’t quite understand that the recommendation against non-essential travel applied to them as well, are we really surprised that others found other ways to get around the expectations?
Stay home, save lives (unless you’re single), does not carry the same weight as a public health message, unfortunately.
Premier Jason Kenney has been clear that elected officials are held to a higher standard and that travelling abroad against public health recommendations made by his own government does not meet that standard.
While most of the MLAs that found themselves in hot water for deciding to ignore their own direction that non-essential travel is not recommended at this time by going overseas, Rosin tried to evade consequences for her travel. Now she has found a way to justify it.
It is up to each and every person to decide whether or not her reasoning was sufficient or disingenuous. But because she tried to avoid answering the question altogether, her constituents also get to consider that reasoning with context.
Recent commentary from our MLA also lamented the loss of our everyday, normal freedoms, lost to the efforts underway to prevent the spread of an infectious disease and avoid unnecessary deaths.
It would seem that being able to squeeze produce at the grocery store is more important that acknowledging that along with the freedoms we enjoy as a society, and not just as individuals, there are also responsibilities that come along with that.