Posted on May 19, 2020


EDMONTON - The NDP is calling on the UCP to immediately extend the eviction ban after news surfaced showing that one of their own MLAs, Drew Barnes, is in the process of evicting a tenant over inability to pay rent.

On Monday it was revealed that Cypress-Medicine Hat MLA Drew Barnes served a tenant an eviction notice after rejecting a proposed payment plan and demanding that the tenant pay $945 in three days.

“The UCP had to be dragged kicking and screaming into supporting an eviction ban for April, and have repeatedly refused to do anything to support and protect tenants beyond that.” said Shannon Phillips, NDP Finance and Treasury Board Critic. “Their reluctance to act, combined with their silence when one of their own MLA’s begins eviction procedures, shows plainly that the UCP simply does not care about renters or anyone who might have a hard time making ends meet during these difficult times.”

On a telephone town hall on April 29, UCP Minister Leela Aheer rejected a call to restore the rent ban saying instead: “I think one of the things that we've also facilitated is the ability to be able to talk with landlords to find out if there is some sort of agreement that we can come to along with them we want to make sure that we facilitate that.”

The tenant in this case reported that he had offered a proposed payment plan at $300 a month at the best he could pay given the state of the job market, but Barnes had rejected this and was instead demanding $995 a month with a $500 deferral option that would be due in October.   

“The UCP can’t even be bothered to protect tenants from members of their own caucus,” said Phillips. “If they won’t extend the eviction ban, could they at least commit to stopping members of their own caucus from evicting people during a global pandemic?”