UCP MLA calls out premier, others, in Sky Palace photo

AIRDRIE, Alta. – A UCP MLA, who has been outspoken about the province’s COVID-19 restrictions, says it’s clear that the premier and a few colleagues broke pandemic health rules when they chose to dine together at the Sky Palace.

Photos of Alberta Premier Jason Kenney and members of the United Conservative caucus dining together on a rooftop patio emerged earlier this week after “concerned Albertan” captured the picture and shared it with multiple media outlets.

The group, which also included Health Minister Tyler Shandro, was spotted sitting around a table on a balcony of the Federal Building in downtown Edmonton.



The event captured in the widely-shared photo has been heavily criticized, with many saying the dinner clearly flouted COVID-19 restrictions.

“Looking at these photos it seems clear to me that several health restrictions were violated,” wrote Airdrie-East MLA Angela Pitt in a Facebook post.

She says she was not a part of this group, despite some speculation that she was.

“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,” she continued.

“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.”

She says the rules need to be clearer, adding small business owners should be granted the same opportunity to operate safely if the premier can have a private dinner that breaks the rules.

“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.”

On Thursday, Kenney said he and his ministers made every reasonable effort to comply with health rules during a surreptitiously photographed whiskey-drinks dinner.

READ MORE: Kenney says ‘reasonable effort’ made to follow COVID rules at whiskey dinner

Kenney said they paid for the meal themselves, and he dismissed accusations of elitist imbibing, calling Jameson Irish whiskey a budget liquor.

He also said they were under the 10-person gathering limit, but he didn’t address that the dinner appeared not to follow other safety measures such as distancing.

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