If there is one politician that has outdone Trump, Trudeau and Biden right now, it is Cypress- Medicine Hat MLA Drew Barnes. MLA Barnes recent actions may have been out of the norm for some, but in an effort to make his voice heard. His actions as of late have the NDP party, Rachel Notley in particular calling for his release from caucus.
The most recent head shaking incident that took place was a protest of around 30 people gathered in Medicine Hat outside of Barnes office to attempt ending mandated masking and other health regulations. They were holding signs saying, “save the kids,” and “end the lockdown”. He gave a speech at the beginning of the gathering telling the crowd that he was thankful to them for showing up and that he would continue to be the voice of the people and fight for their freedoms.
Although there are far more than 30 individuals in Alberta alone that agree with his cause and would gladly resolve COVID-19 safety measures, the majority are not in favor of how he went about this. Potentially causing more covid cases will not solve our problems. Standing outside with signs and no context will not turn back the clock to times of normalcy.
Another issue from critics is the Parler scandal that happened in January . Parler was a social media site that supported free speech . There had been allegations on the page of conspiracy theories and anti-Semitic posts. Multiple posts held ideas of violent acts against the government and support of white supremacy.
After losing support from Amazon, Google , Parler was shut down and now is back. However, before they had cancelled the site Barnes had openly been on the site since June 2020 and had advertised on mainstream social media and Barnes has received criticism for having an account on this platform..
Notley states that Barnes has fanned “the flames of separatism, he evicts his own constituents, he votes against transparency and accountability for the coal policy.” All of the described events prodded Notley to make a post on her Facebook page asking her followers if Premier Jason Kenney should remove Barnes from UCP.
In a turn of surprise, the poll is in support of voted “no” at this current moment and Barnes is remaining in caucus. Barnes screenshotted the poll and its results. Than posted to his Facebook page in response to Notley stating, “Just when you think 2021 couldn’t get any weirder, I am happy to have the support of Rachel Notley’s Facebook page.”
The Buffalo Tribune has interviewed MLA Barnes in the past and he has not denied that he does not always drink the party Kool aid in some circumstances and would rather focus on representing his constituent's first than support the party line.
TBT : Mr. Barnes, when it comes to representation, you don’t drink the 'party Kool-Aid.' Why is this?
For me, it’s clear that free enterprise, fiscal conservatism and family values make us the freest and most prosperous place in the world. We need to trust local communities and free enterprise to create wealth for all Albertans. That’s where my message lies. I try hard to stay in touch with the interests of my constituents in Cypress-Medicine Hat, which I represent; this is easy because our values and my values line up easily. I’m also not part of Cabinet, and although I'm elected under the same banner as Kenney, my job is to make Alberta free and prosperous, and to help those in Cypress Medicine Hat to share in this vision. If the [Alberta] government should create problems and oppose this vision, my job is to help my constituents [first].
Back in December Barnes has been vocal on that elected members should be taking a pay cut during the pandemic since so many Albertans have lost their jobs due to covid and the economic downturn. The Canadian Taxpayers Federation came to the aid in support of Barnes for this initiative by stating:
The Canadian Taxpayers Federation is calling on all Alberta politicians to accept MLA Drew Barnes’ request and take a 20 per cent pay cut.
“MLA Barnes deserves a lot of credit for asking his colleagues to share in the difficult times and accept a 20 per cent pay cut,” said Franco Terrazzano, the CTF’s Alberta Director. “Albertans are struggling, and this would show taxpayers that our elected officials are willing to share in the tough times and understand the difficulties that we are going through.”