GRANDE PRAIRIE, Alta. — A member of Alberta's United Conservative Party government caucus who was recently named a parliamentary secretary for civil liberties has announced she won't seek re-election.
Tracy Allard says in a statement posted Saturday on Facebook that due to Parkinson's disease, which she was diagnosed with in March 2020, she has decided to step away from public life to focus on her health and her family.
Allard notes successful symptom management includes a healthy diet, regular exercise, consistent sleep and minimal stress which she says "does not align well with the schedule, lifestyle and demands placed on an MLA."
The Grande Prairie representative was appointed to the parliamentary secretary post in December by Premier Danielle Smith, who said at the time the job would entail keeping an eye on matters from campus free speech to excessive use of police force.
Allard left former premier Jason Kenney's cabinet in January 2021 after a public outcry over a trip to Hawaii for Christmas, despite the government urging Albertans to stay home to limit the spread of COVID-19.
Later that spring, she was among a large group of backbenchers who publicly condemned a return to stricter health restrictions.
"I am fortunate to have a team of health care professionals working with me to manage this neurodegenerative condition and I am grateful for each one of them," Allard's statement on Facebook said.
"Serving as the MLA for Grande Prairie has been an incredibly rewarding opportunity and a tremendous honour for me. I want to thank the people of Grande Prairie for entrusting me to this important role."
Despite Allard's criticism of public health restrictions, protesters angry about COVID-19 rules left a crude gallows with slogans like, "No to masks" and "End the government" outside her home in Grande Prairie in late October 2021.
At the time, Allard called the threats and intimidation inexcusable and said her private life and her family are out of bounds to protesters.
Alberta's next general election is scheduled for May 29.
Allard said on Facebook that she's confident there will be other ways that she can give back to the community that she said "has given me and my family so much."
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 4, 2023.
The Canadian Press