The Parlour Restaurant in Edmonton (Photo: Mack Male, Creative Commons).

“I appeal to all Albertans to reduce their number of contacts by half over the coming weeks, follow the guidelines already in place, and get the vaccine booster as soon as they are eligible,” said Jason Kenney, premier of Alberta and leader of the governing United Conservative Party, way back on Tuesday. 

Mr. Kenney was at a 3 p.m. news conference called to warn Albertans about the coming fifth wave of COVID-19, powered by the Omicron variation of the virus.

An image that appears to show Justice Minister Kaycee Madu, maskless, at Tuesday’s festivities (Photos: Flickr/Saif Kaisar).

He appeared at the news conference with Jason Copping, minister of health in his cabinet, and Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, each of whom had a similar message. 

“We strongly encourage workplaces to cancel any holiday social gatherings,” said Mr. Copping. 

“Now more than ever, it is important for Albertans to follow public health measures and consider how their actions may affect others,” chipped in Dr. Hinshaw.

No one can argue with the good sense expressed in these sentiments. 

The news conference wrapped up a couple of minutes after 4 p.m.

Less than two and a half hours later, about 200 UCP supporters were gathering at the Parlour Italian Kitchen and Bar six blocks north of the Alberta Legislature Building and literally in sight of the dome, for “good food and good fellowship as we celebrate the Christmas season with our United Conservative family.”

None of the three dispensers of the afternoon’s dollops of UCP COVID-prevention wisdom appear to have made it to the affair, where “delicious reception-style food” was served and a cash bar was operating.

The invitation to Tuesday’s members-only affair (Photo: Twitter).

But Justice Minister Kaycee Madu was reported to be on hand as the private party’s genial local MLA host, snapped through a window by alert passing non-members – or, at least, folks unaware if memberships have been purchased in their names.

Associate Natural Gas Minister Dale Nally, the MLA for Morinville-St. Albert, was also said to be on hand to share hosting duties. 

To steal a line from the United Kingdom, “were these people not even professionally self-interested enough to realize that as the setters of the rules in a deadly pandemic, it was mission-critical that they adhered at all times to both the letter and spirit of them?”

That was columnist Marina Hyde in the Guardian just yesterday, expressing her wonderment at the mid-pandemic partying by Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his aides and allies on the other side of the Pond. 

It’s a good question nonetheless, regardless of which side of the Atlantic one happens to be on. And like their Tory inspirations in the United Kingdom, the Alberta chapter of the world Con-fraternity of the entitled and arrogant have no good answers. 

Natural Gas Associate Minister Dale Nally (Photo: United Conservative Party).

“The premier’s advice to Albertans was given only a short time before our event was to begin, and given our compliance with the REP and adequate spacing in the venue with reduced capacity we decided to proceed,” shrugged party Communications Director Dave Prisco in a statement to CTV News. (Translation: No laws were broken. REP, if course, stands for “restrictions exemption program,” the UCP’s politically correct euphemism for Alberta’s vaccine passport.)

Presumably embarrassed by the resulting brouhaha, however, the UCP cancelled similar festivities in Calgary scheduled for last night. 

Still, it’s difficult to escape the conclusion Alberta’s Conservatives really believe that the rules are only for the rest of us. 

Either that, or their leader has completely lost control of his scofflaw party, Mr. Prisco’s recent endeavours on his behalf notwithstanding. 

Well, at least there are only 10 days left until 2022, so this will probably be the last UCP political scandal of the year. 

Parents are advised to steer clear of this visit by Santa (Image: Twitter).

Then again, maybe not!

Mr. Madu is planning a party for “all the good boys and girls of Edmonton-South West,” his riding, this evening. 

If the symptoms of Omicron COVID show up in only three days, as has been anecdotally reported, that’s plenty of time for something from Tuesday’s good fellowship to be passed along with Santa’s gifts via MLA Madu well before New Year’s Day. 

And that would be a scandal too. 

Prudent parents are advised to give the party a miss. 

Prudent voters are advised to give the UCP a miss in the provincial election scheduled for the spring of 2023. 

Join the Conversation


  1. The party and premier who once aspired to handle COVID in a Churchillian way have turned out to be bunglers more like Boris Johnson with COVID era work parties all the time. No this was not a one time slip up, not after the Sky Palace dinner earlier this year.

    Of course let’s also not forget all the vacationing UCP Ministers, MLA’s and aides about a year ago which was one of the earlier signs the UCP was not taking this as seriously as they should.

    No, the UCP has been remarkably consistent all along in undermining and flouting the rules they put in place and seem to want the rest of us to follow.

  2. Something just tells me that the Covid-19 pandemic in Alberta is going to hit a brutal 5th wave, and very soon. I do not know how the UCP is going to be able to get out of this one very easily. The UCP will try and blame someone else, but that’s not going to succeed. Then, the UCP will retort to more weak measures to deal with it. 2023 cannot come soon enough!

  3. I’m wondering if the Parlour Italian Kitchen and Bar should be considered the site of the UCP’s last stand? But since it’s in Edmonton, not exactly a UCP stronghold by any stretch, the whole matter maybe soon forgotten. Actually, I’m surprised this UCP members-only event was able to get 200 people in the room. There’s also the matter that if this event was a partisan one, would it be charged to the Alberta taxpayer? Kaycee Madu was apparently the host for the event, so I wonder if this was budgeted as a government function? Time will tell. In the meantime, a similar event in Calgary was quickly cancelled on the “advisement of Premier Kenney”, according to Twitter. I guess Kenney sudden cares about how he looks now. And of course he would, now that Brian Jean is breathing down his neck.

    When a similar incident happened in the UK with Boris Johnson’s gang, whether deserved or not, heads were rolled. I wonder if the gentle host, Madu, will find his head on the block? I doubt it. Again, I expect him to be appointed the Treasurer by the fall.

  4. Thank You David.
    I am Also Thankful for Your Outstanding Journalism
    Over the Past Year. I have Endulged in your Articles knowing that Every Read is the Truth bectold.
    I came to Twitter August 2021. You were the First Person
    I Followed.
    Love ❤ Your work and looking forward to what you have cooking in 2022.
    Thank You,

  5. Since UCP supporters wanted to escape the confines of the pandemic, perhaps The Parlour Italian Kitchen & Bar was a handy place to doff facemarks and celebrate the Christmas Season with “good food and good fellowship”. Although Mr. Kenney appears to have been absent, a well stocked cash bar could have helped assuage the sad feelings of the partygoers.

  6. David, as a self displaced Albertan ,but with alot of family still there, I’ve been following your articles closely, because for some “odd” reason ,we get more news in BC, about what goes on in your province,hmm how odd ?
    You have kept me amused ,and your followers give me hope, and you’re my first read of the day, which for a senior with ebbing eyesight says alot,
    Thank you, and as our good Doctor likes to say ,Be kind ,be calm, be safe

    1. Thank you, Randi-lee. You are very kind. A very happy holiday to you. If you haven’t already, get a referral to an ophthalmologist. I did a few years ago and had my fading sight restored to me. I’m still not the teenager I once was, but I see as well as he did. DJC

    1. Thank you, Valerie. Mr. Kenney does have a knack for creating scandals almost every time he opens his mouth. His staff was denying tonight that the “bat soup” remark was in any way racist, but was merely a comment on the scientific debate over the origin of the virus. This takes some cheek to say, but they have no shame. As I remarked on Twitter, “Notwithstanding the fact there is a theory the virus originated in bats (or pangolins) and that both creatures are eaten as food in some places, Mr. Kenney’s sneering ‘bat soup’ remark was clearly intended to have the same effect as Donald Trump’s reference to ‘shithole countries.'” DJC

  7. Consenting adults doing what they want is an issue?

    As individuals they can decide on the risk they want to take up.

    If the healthcare system cant accommodate that risk, maybe the healthcare system should be updated to new normal practices.

    1. Bret: Part of any normal health care system includes rules which specifically forbid consenting adults from doing certain things. Consider the case of the 18 year old HIV positive sex worker in Edmonton who was incarcerated some years ago when she refused to follow safer sex practices. Or the entirely reasonable requirement to mask up in indoor public places. Your freedom ends where the other person’s nose begins.

    2. “maybe the healthcare system should be updated to new normal practices.”

      Would that include private health care in private hospitals with private Doctors and specialists for the privileged class that can afford private health insurance?

  8. It seems that Kaycee Madu playing Santa Claus has got the abbreviated version of the event.

    From the sounds of it, based on the Twitter post, it will not be held indoors and only a brief gift exchange will occur. The #RESIGNMADU hashtag seems to be getting traction on Twitter.

    Hmmm … I guess interactions with UCP donors over dinner and a cash bar are still on?

  9. Hey, this why they call themselves the United Conservative PARTY! They party at the legislature, they party at the Sky Palace, and they party at the Parlour. Where next? (Any bets it’s the ICU ward?).

  10. Thanks for another great column, David. One of the things I especially like about your work is seeing where the links you provide take me.

    I found Kaycee Madu’s tweet incredible – specifically the timing of it. By 4:12 yesterday afternoon the sh- – over the Christmas party had already hit the fan, and here this guy is still promoting another get together. A wiser man, if he didn’t outright cancel the event, would at least quit promoting it.

    But not Kaycee. He probably has signs up saying “Come to Uncle Kaycee’s Covid Christmas Celebration. Bring your kids and let Kaycee share whatever he picked up at the UCP No Rules Were Broken party on Tuesday night.”

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