WRHA chairman steps down as Pallister bans government officials from travelling

The chair of the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority has stepped down from his position after it was discovered that he was in Arizona last week.

On Wednesday, the Winnipeg Free Press reported that Wayne McWhirter, a provincial government appointee, was in sunny Arizona. He wouldn’t say why he was there or how long he’s been there.

That week, the province said they wouldn’t be removing him from the role, but on Monday Premier Brian Pallister sent out a written statement to media saying McWhirter had stepped down following a conversation with the premier’s office.

In fact, Pallister took a hard line, effectively banning leisure travel for all Manitoba government personnel.

Wayne McWhirter, the provincial government-appointed board chair of the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, resigned after his recent travel came to light. (WRHA website)

“Due to concerns about COVID-19 variants now emerging and in order to provide additional clarity regarding public health orders, all Manitoba government order-in-council appointees, including those serving on agencies, boards, and commissions, may not travel for leisure purposes outside permitted travel areas, effective immediately,” he wrote.

“Should they do so, their appointment will be terminated.”

CBC News has reached out to McWhirter but he did not immediately respond. The WRHA declined to comment.