Backlash grows after Manitoba MLA caught travelling during the holidays
James Teitsma's constituency office. SOURCE: Mike Arsenault
WINNIPEG -- The list of politicians under fire for defying their own advice by travelling over the holidays keeps growing.
“They’re expecting us to not, so why are they allowed to travel?” said Joyce Fedick, who lives in the Winnipeg constituency of Radisson.
On Monday, the PC caucus confirmed James Teitsma, the MLA for Radisson, travelled west over the Christmas break.
He and his household went to Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia from December 21 to 30.
Fedick, who spent her holidays apart from family, said it points to a double standard.
“(I was with) my mom because I take care of her, so I got to see her, but the rest of our family, there’s 20 something of us normally, we didn’t (gather).”
University of Manitoba bioethicist Arthur Schafer said politicians need to practice what they preach and that failing to do so is corrosive to public morale.
“We’ve got to subordinate our individual selfish desires to a sense of community, and it’s critically important that our politicians communicate this,” said Schafer. “It’s critically important that they walk the walk, and not just talk the talk.”
On Tuesday, Premier Brian Pallister said he is not "pleased" with Teitsma’s decision to go out of province, but added he won’t be penalized.
“He’s not a cabinet minister. I’m not going to be taking any disciplinary action against him,” said Pallister. “I can’t remove him from a cabinet he’s not a member of.”
Manitoba’s NDP and Liberal parties both said none of their MLAs travelled outside of the province during the holidays or while code red restrictions have been in effect.
Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman was also asked if any city councilors left the province.
“I canvassed a number of councilors that I’ve appointed to the executive policy committee and none were out of the province for the holidays.”
Bowman added all members of the city’s senior administration stayed home as well.
Fedick would like to see some accountability for politicians like Teitsma who don’t follow their own rules.
“We’re asked to stay home, we’re not even allowed to visit family, so I think they should have to resign or be fired because they’re not setting an example.”
CTV News reached out to MLA James Teitsma for comment but did not hear back.