Alberta Premier Jason Kenney’s Sky Palace dinner left such a bad taste in Chris Scott’s mouth, he recreated it on top of his padlocked Whistle Stop Cafe.
“I’ll be doing a live stream shortly to update everyone as to the details of the staff meeting we just finished. It was a great, legal, productive dinner even though there were more than four people at the table!” Scott wrote on his restaurant’s Facebook page.
“Premier Kenney and his crew had a similar lunch date that at first appeared to break the rules but he’s since clarified them, (changed them,) so they were compliant.
“Since our supper together was a working supper, it’s legal! Work within the rules no matter how terribly faulty they are I guess.”
Scott was arrested on May 8 after a protest which saw 1,500 people show up in support of his business in Mirror, 50 km east of Red Deer, which has faced repeated crackdowns by the provincial government.
That week saw the RCMP seize all of the establishment’s beer and then days later padlock the restaurant after a dawn raid.
Undeterred, Scott continued cooking pancakes, making burgers and serving coffee to his customers the next day in the parking lot outside his shuttered restaurant. The UCP government had recently banned outdoor patio service for restaurants.
Scott made a solemn promise to Alberta Health Services and the RCMP he would no longer open his establishment.
So when he was inside May 29, cleaning damage up after someone broke the glass in his front door, he was shocked to see AHS and RCMP speed into his parking lot, and re-padlock the restaurant.
The Whistle Stop Cafe has become a flashpoint in resistance to provincial lockdown orders and restrictions imposed by the Kenney government, as Scott defied the orders and “illegally” reopened in mid-January of 2021.
Leela Aheer, Minister of Culture, Multiculturalism, and Status of Women, and Minister of Community and Social Services Rajan Sawhney both took shots at Kenney over the weekend for the Sky Palace shindig.
UCP MLAs Angela Pitt and David Hanson have publicly said they were appalled by the group’s behaviour. Independent MLA’s Drew Barnes and Todd Loewen have called on Kenney to resign.
Kenney was pilloried after photos emerged last week showing him sitting with eight other people – including cabinet ministers – on the Sky Palace’s patio, clearly not following socially distancing rules. The linen-covered table is topped with a 40 oz. bottle of Jameson Irish Whiskey, wine glasses and bottled water.
Health Minister Tyler Shandro, Finance Minister Travis Toews, Government House Leader Jason Nixon were all gathered around the table.
The Western Standard’s Fact Check found Kenney and his guests have 18 counts of violating their own regulations, and eight counts of violating their own guidelines.
Kenney claimed it was a working business dinner that was taken outside because the risk of virus transmission is lower than being inside. He brushed aside NDP criticism, saying they did not want Alberta to reopen and no COVID-19 regulations were broken.
The Sky Palace was a media-dubbed name when it emerged former Premier Alison Redford was renovating the top of the Federal Building into a private residence for her and her daughter.
Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard