Sask Party must lead by example not live by different rules: NDP
Regina - The Official Opposition is asking for answers from the Sask. Party government as ministers travelled south in recent months despite provincial and federal guidelines.
“Every person in Saskatchewan has had their personal or professional life affected by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said NDP Ethics Critic Matt Love. “People have cancelled vacations and business trips, missed visiting sick and dying relatives and generally put many aspects of their life on hold. Scott Moe and his Ministers seem to think they are too important to do the same.”
While people all over the province cancelled travel plans and missed their loved ones, it emerged on December 30th that Highways and Transportation Minister Joe Hargrave had travelled to his vacation property near Palm Springs on December 22nd. Premier Moe and the Minister Hargrave both said this was acceptable as it was an “essential business trip” to finalize the sale of the property.
While that wouldn’t excuse his actions, as there is no reason he’d have to finalize the sale in person, it turns out that even that attempt to excuse his behaviour wasn’t true. Real-estate listings show that Minister Hargrave’s California residence was only put on the market on December 26th.
“Anyone who owns a house knows there’s a big difference between finalizing a sale and listing it,” said Love. “Why did the Minister feel the need to lie about this? Was he just trying to make his flimsy excuse for ignoring the rules sound better when really all he wanted was a sunny Christmas vacation by the golf course and pool in his gated community?”
In addition to Minister Hargrave’s Palm Springs vacation, it was reported that Corrections Minister, Christine Tell, also took a trip to Palm Springs in November to visit a sick relative. Questions remain about the timing and rationale for this travel.
“Everyone has sympathy for those who have friends and family who are sick that they can’t see,” said Love. “What we’re asking is why Sask Party Government Ministers think rules and directives don’t apply to them? Why are they telling regular people to do one thing and then doing another themselves?”
Scott Moe has not acknowledged any problems with his Ministers’ travels. Health Minister Paul Merriman further added to the confusion by contradicting public health guidelines, saying: “Everyone has their own judgement as to what they feel is essential services, or essential travel.”
Real estate listing for Hargrave’s California property:
Property tax records for Hargrave’s property: