Calgary Councillor George Chahal is blasting Mayor Naheed’s Nenshi office for not coming clean earlier that his chief of staff jetted to Hawaii over Christmas, flouting provincial health regulations.
Nenshi admitted Tuesday, Devery Corbin and another office administrator flew out of the province to Hawaii even though the province is in a full pandemic lockdown and health recommendations urge against non-essential travel .
Neither will face sanctions, Nenshi said.
In an open letter, Ward 5 Chahal said it’s ludicrous the office kept a lid on the travel until Tuesday, when for about a week a scandal over UCP snowbirds has riveted the province.
“I am even more frustrated to learn that this was not ackowledged earlier, as the issue of pandemic travel has been one of the top news stories for five days and counting,” Chahal said.
Chahal said while many Albertans have made great sacrifices during the pandemic “the sacrifice is generally much smaller for those with financial privilege.”
He said “systematic failures” have been discovered in a drive for equality.
Chahal represents a riding in Calgary’s northeast which has been one of the hardest hit during the pandemic.
He said politicians of all levels are risking losing the trust of voters in these unprecedented times.
Chahal said he hasn’t left the city since March and he chose not to visit his ailing father for Christmas.
When Nenshi told reporters Tuesday about the travellers in his office he admitted he was “yelling at the screen” when Premier Jason Kenney held a press conferece on Friday to try and explain away the UCP scandal.
“Yes, I was aware of this travel … but I also believe that they made a decision they thought was right and fair and within the rules,” he said.
“I really wish I had said, ‘Are you sure about that? Do you think that is congruent with the messaging about how we’re all in this together, with the latest numbers,’
“I really wish I had done that, I didn’t do that and I’m really sorry I didn’t do that and I deeply regret I didn’t do that.”
Nenshi’s own Twitter homepage urges people to “stay home” during the pandemic.
Prior to joining the Mayor’s Office as Chief of Staff in 2018, Devery worked at the city for more than 15 years in a number of areas including Planning and Development and Strategic Services.
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