Joe Hargrave’s Palm Springs vacation property not listed until Dec. 26: Sask. NDP

The Saskatchewan NDP is raising more questions surrounding Highway Minister Joe Hargrave‘s trip to Palm Springs, Calif., to finalize the sale of his vacation property.

Ethics critic Matt Love now says Hargrave’s property was not listed until Dec. 26.

Read more: Sask. NDP demands Joe Hargrave resign after Palm Springs trip; Moe says he will stay

“Anyone who owns a house knows there’s a big difference between finalizing a sale and listing it,” Love said Monday in a statement.

“Why did the minister feel the need to lie about this? Was he just trying to make his flimsy excuse for ignoring the rules sound better when really all he wanted was a sunny Christmas vacation by the golf course and pool in his gated community?”

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Last week, Hargrave said he travelled to Palm Springs on Dec. 22 to finalize the sale of personal property and move items back to Saskatchewan.

Hargrave said he advised Premier Scott Moe of his travel plans.

“The decision to travel was a personal choice to address personal business that I deemed necessary,” Hargrave said in a statement on Dec. 30.

Love said they want answers about Hargrave’s trip and also about travel south by Corrections Minister Christine Tell.

The NDP said Tell travelled to Palm Springs in November to visit a sick relative.

“Everyone has sympathy for those who have friends and family who are sick that they can’t see,” Love said.

“What we’re asking is why Sask Party government ministers think rules and directives don’t apply to them. Why are they telling regular people to do one thing and then doing another themselves?”

Read more: The Canadian politicians who travelled during the holidays amid a coronavirus pandemic

The Saskatchewan Party government has not yet responded to the latest revelations, but Moe said last week that he expects all ministers and caucus members to follow all public health orders and guidance.

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“When Minister Hargrave advised me of his travel for personal business that he deemed necessary, I conveyed the expectation that he follow all public health guidelines and self-isolate for 14-days upon his return,” Moe said on Dec. 30.

Current federal and provincial guidelines recommend avoiding all non-essential travel outside of Canada until further notice.

Hargrave said he intends to self-isolate for 14 days in his Prince Albert home when he returns to Saskatchewan.

“I apologize for this error in judgement, and am returning to Canada as soon as my self-isolation period is over in California on January 5th,” Hargrave said last week.

Love said Hargrave could have handled listing the property remotely.

“Every person in Saskatchewan has had their personal or professional life affected by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Love said.

“People have cancelled vacations and business trips, missed visiting sick and dying relatives and generally put many aspects of their life on hold. Scott Moe and his ministers seem to think they are too important to do the same.”

Read more: Ontario finance minister resigns after highly criticized Caribbean vacation

Moe’s office said last week that Hargrave will remain a minister and that his “decision to travel was an error in judgment.”

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The NDP said all of its MLAs and staffers remained home over the holidays.

— This story will be updated.

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Growing list of politicians who ignored travel guidelines

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