Manitoba Progressive Conservative leader Brian Pallister apologized to a throng of media Friday about getting travel dates wrong during the 2014 flood.
This comes after a media report revealed Pallister spent about 240 days in or on his way to Costa Rica since his election as the MLA for Fort Whyte in 2012. The report also indicated Pallister was away at the beginning of July during the 2014 flood.
He said he initially reported he was in Alberta for a wedding, but now admits he was actually in Costa Rica and apologized for the error.
“I got it wrong,” Pallister said. “I got the dates wrong and I think I should admit that.”
Pallister confirmed to CTV News he has spent about 240 days in Costa Rica where he and his wife own a vacation property.
The PC Leader said he wasn’t more up front about his whereabouts because he wanted to protect the privacy of his family. He said he struggles to find a balance between his work and personal life.
“No public dollars were involved in my travel,” Pallister said. “We saved for over 30 years to have a vacation property that we enjoy as a family, but I also work and I would want to be clear about that.”
“I would be clear that time with my family doesn’t mean I don’t work,” he added. “I’ve been reminded of that rather frequently by my wife and daughters.”
Pallister said none of his trips happened while the legislature was sitting.
“I’m probably a workaholic, and I work every day at what I do, and I work hard, but I also want to protect my family’s privacy and that balance, I’m trying to find, I know you’ll help me in that,” Pallister said.
If elected Premier, the PC leader said he will not spend as much time in Costa Rica.
He explained some of the work he did as opposition leader while in Costa Rica included spending time writing and reading speeches, and staying in contact with his office. He elaborated on the situation during the 2014 flood in western Manitoba.
“I was there personally on two occasions prior to the flooding. I was there right after the flooding,” Pallister said. “It isn’t a case of not loving and caring for the people there. We had several of our MLAs there. I was in contact with them.”
“I was in contact with my office, I knew of the situation. It was a flash flood, wasn’t predicted, “ he said. “I’m getting defensive, but I work and I love to work, and I struggle with that balance.”