Calgary Freedom Walk takes on vacationing UCP MLAs in latest demonstration

CALGARY — A grassroots movement that describes itself as a protector of “civil liberties and free democratic society” is once again taking to the streets in Calgary after a holiday filled with political controversy.

Freedom Walk Calgary, is organizing another protest in Calgary, despite the COVID-19 restrictions preventing outdoor gatherings.

This time, the movement is fighting to support businesses that have been told by the government to remain closed until Jan. 21.

Organizers also want participants to show up in beachwear and Hawaiian leis to call out the Jason Kenney government about several UCP MLAs who, instead of staying home for the Christmas holidays, travelled to tropical destinations.

“Politicians and government staff have been running off to play in Hawaii, while Albertans are told to not see their families and to suffer business closures and bankruptcies for ‘the greater good’,” the group says in the post.

“Albertans can see clear through this charade, and they are not going to take it any longer!”

Last week, Kenney announced that restrictions that were brought into effect in December would remain in effect until at least Jan. 21.

He said the rules would stay in place because Alberta’s hospitalizations and positivity rates were still far too high.

However, all K-12 schools would be allowed to reopen on schedule.

“We need to see what impact the holidays had on testing, and of course, we also need to prioritize reopening the schools as we are doing and begin to see what impact that may have,” he said Jan. 7. “Although we’re confident it will not accelerate widespread social transmission – that has not been the case in the past.”

The premier also addressed the issue of UCP MLAs and other senior government officials travelling abroad while the advice from health officials throughout the pandemic has been to avoid all non-essential travel plans.

He emphasized a new directive for all government officials and said there would be consequences for anyone who breaks it.

“I think the expectation, a quite correct expectation of Albertans, for a higher standard of conduct applies to people who hold significant positions of public trust. I’ve defined that as elected officials, as well as senior political staff who are in key decision-making positions, as well as executive leaders in the Alberta public service.”

Six MLAs, as well as Kenney’s chief of staff, either resigned or lost duties when it was learned they travelled to international destinations such as Hawaii, Mexico and the U.K. over the Christmas holidays. The changes came after Albertans protested Kenney’s decision not to discipline anyone over the matter on Jan. 1.

“We’ll have to continue showing to Albertans that we’ve learned the lesson, we’ve heard them, and we have to rebuild a culture of discipline and of humility.”

Freedom Walk’s protest begins at the Calgary Court Centre at 1 p.m.

(With files from CTV Edmonton)

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