A Canadian premier and some officials were found to have broken pandemic guidelines that authorities used to jail pastors and lock churches in the country.
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney was denounced after he was captured dining with several guests in a penthouse on June 1, failing to observe his own COVID-19 regulations. Kenney's office stated that the "working dinner" was attended by Government House Leader and Minister of Environment and Parks Jason Nixon, as well as Health Minister Tyler Shandro and other political staffers.
The premier was also criticized by two members of his own cabinet, including Minister of Culture and Multiculturism Leela Aheer and Minister for Social Services Rajan Sawhney.
Aheer reportedly posted on her personal Facebook account Saturday night, calling for Kenney to apologize.
"I am confused and, like you, extremely hurt, and I'm so sorry for any pain, anger, or frustration this may have caused you. All of us make mistakes, but this one is a big one," she said.
She also urged the other ministers present in the gathering to apologize.
"Our leadership should sincerely apologize. I want you to know that I have diligently followed the rules right alongside all of you as we fight COVID," Aheer added.
On Friday, Sawhney expressed her sentiments in a radio interview on Calgary's RED-FM, saying that she has been trying to observe the pandemic guidelines and even distanced herself from her mother.
"I would never have done (what they did) in the picture," she added, translated from Punjabi.
"I was in my chamber and as a representative of the (Calgary-North East constituency) I don't feel good. I know what to do," the minister further stated.
"I would say if they committed a mistake they must accept it openly. (The) photo clearly speaks," Sawhney also pointed out.
On Monday, Kenney moved to apologize for his mistake.
"I was of the clear view that we were compliant with the 'Open For Summer' rules, but it is clear some of us were not distanced the whole night," he explained.
"We should have taken extra precautions to be distanced. I sincerely apologize. I take full responsibility," the premier further stated.
However, Faithwire noted that the government has already arrested several pastors for breaking the same guidelines that Kenney violated.
Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church was jailed for 35 days for violating public health measures in Edmonton. The minister continues to fight the local government with its pandemic rules, restricting people's freedom to worship.
Last month, Calgary Pastor Artur Pawlowski and his brother Dawid were arrested and charged for holding indoor worship services, as well as promoting and attending these gatherings.
On May 16, Tim Stephens, pastor of Fairview Baptist Church, was also arrested for organizing church services, breaking Alberta's COVID-19 guidance.
Faithwire added that according to the Western Standard, Kenney has already violated 24 rules only during the course of the said dinner.
Last Friday, Angela Pitt, member and deputy speaker of Alberta's United Conservative Party (UCP), also criticized the incident, calling it a "hypocrisy."
"Much of the public concern about this incident has been about the hypocrisy of senior officials breaking their own rules. I can certainly understand these concerns," Pitt stated.
Pitt's statement was supported by UCP backbench member Dave Hanson, pointing out Kenney's previous warning that members who broke pandemic rules should be evicted from the caucus.
"I'm with you Angela. Albertans are angry again and rightly so," Hanson wrote.