Saskatchewan

Saskatchewan cabinet minister in California to sell home, premier aware of trip

A Saskatchewan cabinet minister says he's in California over the holidays to finalize the sale of a home.

Joe Hargrave says he's in Palm Springs to finish up selling personal property

Saskatchewan Highways Minister Joe Hargrave said in a statement that he's in Palm Springs to finish up selling personal property. (Bryan Eneas/CBC)

A Saskatchewan cabinet minister says he's in California over the holidays to finalize the sale of a home.

Joe Hargrave said in a statement that he's in Palm Springs to finish up selling personal property and move things back to Saskatchewan.

The Highways Minister and legislature member for Prince Albert Carlton said he made the decision to travel to "address personal business that I deemed necessary."

His office said he left Saskatchewan on Dec. 22 and his return date depends on the sale of his property being completed.

Hargrave said he told Premier Scott Moe of his travel plans and will self-isolate upon his return to Canada.

Moe said in a separate statement that he told Hargrave he expects him to follow required public health advice during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"I expect that all members of cabinet and caucus follow all public health orders and guidance," Moe said Wednesday.

'Everyone has their own judgment,' says health minister

Health Minister Paul Merriman was asked to comment on Hargrave's trip during a COVID-19 news conference Wednesday afternoon.

"It's not my place to comment on my colleague's actions," Merriman said. "Everyone has their own judgment of what they feel is essential services or essential travel. But what I can say is I certainly didn't travel throughout the Christmas season."

Merriman said he remained at home in Saskatoon with his wife.

"Were able to connect with our family members virtually, which was different this year. But it was certainly nice to be able to spend a few days at home."

Politicians travelling abroad over the holidays has become an issue since it was discovered that Ontario's finance minister is in the Caribbean. Ontario Premier Doug Ford has ordered Rod Phillips to return as soon as possible.

Saskatchewan has advised people against travelling for non-essential purposes, but has no mandatory self-isolation rule outside of the two weeks for international travel.

Public disclosure statements from March show Hargrave is the joint owner of a personal vacation residence and a recreation residence, but they do not specify locations.

with files from Guy Quenneville

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