Following a week of revelations that many Alberta MLAs and an MP chose to leave the province during the coronavirus pandemic, most Calgary councillors are assuring residents they stayed home during the holidays.
But one isn’t talking about what was in his calendar during the three-week break between committee and council meetings that spanned Christmas and New Year’s Eve.
Ward 2 Coun. Joe Magliocca did not respond to request for confirmation of his holidays at press time. When reached by phone and asked about Magliocca’s holiday whereabouts, his communications liaison Greg Hartzler said, “No comment.”
It is up to individual councillors whether to publicly disclose their itinerary for personal travel.
The last time Mayor Naheed Nenshi left the country was in February 2020 as part of an economic mission to India. The mayor was joined by Ward 5 Coun. George Chahal — that trip was Chahal’s last time leaving the province.
And according to the mayor’s office, the last time the mayor left his home over the holidays was to film New Year’s greetings for Times Square.
Ward 8 Coun. Evan Woolley confirmed to Global News he, his wife and his son spent one night in a cabin in Fernie, B.C. over the holiday break, but was otherwise in Calgary.
Ward 13 Coun. Diane Colley-Urquhart said when she left her Calgary home, it was for exercise and for groceries.
“I have jogged and travelled around the reservoir,” Colley-Urquhart told Global News via email. “I have cycled, walked and travelled to the store. For the first time I have ordered groceries online.”
Ward 4 Coun. Sean Chu said he’s had to cancel overseas travel twice — in March and October 2020.
“I’m just like (the) majority of Calgarians: staying home and getting fat from eating too much without activities,” Chu told Global News via text. “The last time I was on holiday outside of Alberta was at the end of August 2019.”
Ward 7 Coun. Druh Farrell said she’s been “staying put” over the holidays, obeying public health guidance like many of her fellow councillors.
“I think in general we’re taking this pandemic seriously, as we should,” Farrell said. “And the City of Calgary has a lot of experience in disaster management. We went through the flood and we understand how important it is to lead by example and also be consistent and communicate clearly.
“And so it doesn’t surprise me that most of my colleagues are taking this seriously.”
Ward 11 Coun. Jeromy Farkas told Global News he was in Calgary for the holiday break, as did Ward 3’s Jyoti Gondek, Ward 6’s Jeff Davison and Ward 9’s Gian-Carlo Carra.
“I think it’s really important for us as elected officials to lead by example,” Farkas told Global News. “You can’t ask others to do something that you yourself wouldn’t be willing to do.
“For my part, I may disagree with some portion of the restrictions and may agree with others, but I think we need to lead by example.”
Ward 1 Coun. Ward Sutherland’s executive assistant confirmed to Global News that Sutherland has not travelled outside of Alberta during 2020.
Ward 14 Coun. Peter Demong confirmed he hadn’t travelled during the holiday break, saying the last time he left the province was in February 2020, and left the city in August for an Alberta Urban Municipalities Association meeting.
Ward 12 Coun. Shane Keating was not in Calgary during the holidays. He was in Saskatoon, SK, with his wife following her more than a year-long series of cancer treatments.
“My wife’s family is originally from Saskatoon and I’m originally from Saskatchewan, so I have a lot of family left here,” Keating told Global News Monday. “But due to her cancer diagnosis and treatment at the time, we thought it was far better that we go through this process close to family.”
Keating did return to Calgary for in-person meetings in October.
“Before then, I was not allowed to leave Saskatchewan as they would stop all her cancer treatment.”
Grandparents to 12, Keating and his wife spent Christmas and New Year’s dinners at home alone.
The Ward 12 councillor did admit to leaving his Saskatoon home to see his mother in Estevan, SK, on her 103rd birthday. Keating said he donned a mask and gloves for the visit.
– With files from Adam MacVicar, Global News
© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.