Manitoba PC MLA who travelled through Western Canada over holidays disciplined, says premier

The MLA for Manitoba’s Radisson constituency has been punished for travelling interprovincially with his family over the holiday season, Premier Brian Pallister said Tuesday.

Progressive Conservative MLA James Teitsma was reappointed to the provincial Treasury Board and another legislature committee earlier this month, but Pallister has since revoked the latter appointment.

“An additional committee appointment (in conjunction with the cabinet shuffle) was revoked once the premier was made aware of MLA Teitsma’s non-essential, out-of-province travel,” the spokesperson for the premier’s office confirmed via email.

Teitsma travelled through Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia with household members from Dec. 21-30, despite the Pallister government urging Manitobans to stay home during the holidays.

He was the only Progressive Conservative MLA to travel out-of-province, according to the party.

The NDP said none of its MLAs left Manitoba.

Initially, Pallister was “not pleased” by Teitsma’s decision, but said no one from his party would be punished for travelling during the holidays.

“His decision to leave the province isn’t something I support, but … he’s not a cabinet member and I’m not going to be taking any disciplinary actions against him,” Pallister said during a Jan. 5 news conference.

“I can’t remove him from a cabinet he’s not a member of.”

On Tuesday, during a news conference where he announced upcoming travel restrictions, Pallister told reporters that Teitsma in fact has been disciplined.

“Yes, he has faced disciplinary action,” he said when asked why Teitsma hadn’t been disciplined.

Pallister also alleged that three NDP MLAs have also been disciplined for travelling.

Opposition NDP Leader Wab Kinew later told reporters during a scrum that Pallister wasn’t being truthful, about both the three NDP MLAs and Teitsma’s discipline.

“When it comes to Mr. Teitsma, here is what the facts show: not only was he not disciplined by Mr. Pallister, but Mr. Pallister actually reappointed him on the same day that they did their cabinet shuffle. He reappointed Mr. Teitsma to one of the most powerful cabinet committees in the entire government,” said Kinew.

Teitsma kept his position on the Manitoba Treasury Board.

“It seems to me that there should be some accountability from Mr. Pallister onto Mr. Teitsma, particularly on a day where you are asking Manitobans to make a greater sacrifice around travel restrictions,” said Kinew, adding that he wants to see Teitsma removed from the Treasury Board.