Saskatchewan

'Hindsight is 20/20': Former Sask. highways minister regrets California trip

Joe Hargrave apologized for the trip, which he says he took with his wife in December to sell a home in Palm Springs, and says he regrets going south while others couldn't. 

Joe Hargrave refutes NDP accusations that he was vacationing in Palm Springs

Joe Hargrave lost his positions as minister of highways and minister responsible for the water security agency after he travelled to California to sell a home he owned. He now says he regrets that trip. (Michael Bell/The Canadian Press)

The now former Minister of Highways and MLA for Prince Albert-Carlton says he regrets travelling to California, while residents in Saskatchewan were told to stay home and avoid family gatherings.

Joe Hargrave apologized for the trip, which he took with his wife in December to sell a home in Palm Springs. 

Hargrave said it wasn't a vacation, which the Opposition NDP had accused him of taking under the cover of selling a home. The party's ethics critic had pointed to the fact a real estate listing wasn't created until Boxing Day — four days after the Hargraves left for Palm Springs as evidence.

NDP Leader Ryan Meili called the trip south a "slap in the face" to residents of Saskatchewan who had to make sacrifices over the holiday season.

Hargrave said he was just worried about selling his home.

"You know, hindsight is 20/20 and now I wish I hadn't gone but, you know, we felt at the time our home there was vacant 10 months and probably going to be vacant another 10 months or a year and we should sell it before something happens to it, like somebody breaks in," he told paNOW Friday.

CBC has previously attempted to reach Hargrave directly for comment, but was only given statements from the provincial government.

Hargrave refuted the NDP's contention that he was on a holiday and said he did not appreciate the misinformation spread around about his family on social media.
   
"It just gets carried away as to what I was up to, that my whole family was down there and we were partying," he said. 

"We [Hargrave and his wife] isolated the whole time we were in California and we isolated here."
   
Premier Scott Moe previously confirmed that he knew about the trip beforehand.
   
When it came to the decision to later step down as minister of highways, Hargrave said he and the premier had several discussions.
   
"We came to a mutual decision that I should step down from my role as minister and I'm fine with that because I'll still be working hard for my constituents in Prince Albert, and I'll also work hard for the province."

With files from CBC News

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