Alberta Liberal Leader John Roggeveen issues the following statement on the E. Coli breakout at Calgary childcare facilities:
I am furious about the E. coli outbreak at Calgary childcare facilities. We have 301 infected children and their families. 21 of them are in hospital. Some of them are undergoing dialysis treatment and will suffer from health problems for years.
This pain and suffering was preventable. The kitchen that is likely responsible for this outbreak failed multiple inspections since 2021. There were numerous and severe health and safety violations. Yet the government let this kitchen continue to operate putting Albertans at risk.
Our safety standards exist for a reason. Inspections have a purpose. But neither is effective if there is no enforcement. Thoughts and prayers are not enough. Even a public inquiry is insufficient. The UCP government should immediately strengthen enforcement of health and safety standards, especially those that impact vulnerable people.
Multi-time and severe violators must be closed down until they demonstrate that they have addressed their failings and not be allowed to open until they do so. After which they need to face extreme scrutiny and enhanced monitoring.
Posting public health inspection records is not enough. The Alberta Government must start a public health campaign that makes Albertans aware of these reports and where to find them so they can inform themselves. Where vulnerable populations are involved, the government must go further and actively inform families and caregivers.
The government must also consider increasing fines to better ensure compliance.
Most importantly of all, the Alberta government needs to commit to doing everything possible to help those affected, not just today, but for as long as their health is compromised by this horrible incident.
This tragedy was a systemic failure and the government is responsible for that system. If they do not take decisive action something like it can easily happen again. It’s time for Danielle Smith to stop her endless political battles and focus on helping Albertans.