EDMONTON – Alberta Premier Jason Kenney is rejecting an opposition offer to have him formally censored by the legislature for his handling of the fourth wave of COVID-19.
Kenney says he’s focused on restarting Alberta’s economy and doesn’t have time for what he calls a cynical political game.
Opposition NPD asked for answers as to why the Kenney government failed to act in August as the number of cases rose alarmingly, resulting in intense pressure on hospitals the following month and 15 000 surgeries canceled.
Justice critic Irfan Sabir, suggesting that Kenney should be held accountable for decisions that have caused great suffering, said his party would bring forward the no-confidence motion when the House resumes on Monday.
Kenney has been criticized by members of his own united Conservative caucus over his handling of COVID-19, and Sabir says a vote of no confidence would be a chance for them to defend their constituents.
Kenney notes that the fourth wave of the pandemic has receded since public health rules and incentives were put in place in September, but says more work needs to be done.
“We are happy to see that Wave Four is clearly under control and that the numbers have dropped sharply since our government took action – and thanks to Albertans who have stepped up,” Kenney said Wednesday at a conference. press in Grande Prairie, Alberta.
âOur eye is on the ball, focused on protecting lives and livelihoods through whatever remains of COVID.
â(These are) more political games from the NDP which unfortunately treated COVID-19 not as an opportunity to come together, but rather as a divisive one. They sought to politicize COVID-19 in Alberta from day one. “
Sabir said the motion would read: âBe it resolved that the Legislature censure the Prime Minister for his failing leadership before and during the fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. “
Alberta has been forced to more than double the number of intensive care beds and call in military medical aid at the height of the latest wave.
Kenney said he took no action in August because he had received no recommendation from Dr. Deena Hinshaw, chief medical officer of health.
He also said he was not sure strict sanitation measures would have worked given the Alberta population fatigued by COVID.
He rejected the NDP’s call for a multi-party inquiry into the Fourth Wave. He said there would be time after the health crisis was over to consider what went right and wrong.
As of Tuesday, there were 422 new cases, according to Hinshaw the number has dropped significantly, but the pressure on healthcare remains a concern.
There were about 6,000 active cases, 608 people hospitalized with the disease and 128 of those in intensive care.
A total of 3,159 Albertans have died from COVID-19.
Provincial measures introduced in September included a $ 100 incentive to get vaccinated and a form of vaccination passport to access non-essential services.
The Alberta passport, known as the restriction exemption, is voluntary, but businesses that do not register must adhere to other rules, including severely restricted customer capacity.
The province has developed a QR code as proof of vaccination, Albertans must download and show this code starting Monday if they want to visit restaurants, bars, cinemas, casinos, concert halls and sporting venues.
Alberta’s Fourth Wave woes were linked to low vaccination rates compared to other jurisdictions in Canada. This rate has since increased considerably. For eligible people aged 12 and over, the inoculation rate is nearly 88% for a first dose and 81% for a full vaccination.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published on November 10, 2021.