Too little. Too late.
It’s a turn of phrase we hear every week in Jason Kenney’s Alberta. Experts warned Kenney’s “Open for Summer” plan was dangerous. Within weeks evidence was showing this and with each passing week, that evidence mounted. The evidence was ignored by Dr. Hinshaw and the UCP and now our healthcare is on the precipice of collapse.
The measures announced this week to lessen the spread of the COVID virus are certainly better than the status quo but they are far from enough. Even now Kenney, Shandro and Dr. Hinshaw are pulling their punches in the fight against COVID. There are gaping holes in this plan on critical issues like enforcement and the spread of COVID through schools.
The effectiveness of new public health measures is being diminished by confusing and muddled language. One example is the new vaccine passport being euphemistically called a “restrictions exemption program” which appears to be used simply to avoid accusations of a political flip flop Kenney. Creating more confusion for the tiniest amount of political gain shows just how petty and self-centred this government is. The changes Kenney and the UCP have re-instituted continues his hands-off approach, turning businesses into the gate-keepers and rule-enforcers, rather than the government taking a clear and bold position, as a competent leader would.
Premier Jason Kenney rushed to the roulette table after getting elected and bet $1 billion annually on corporate tax cuts, which he assured us would create jobs. But the jobs never came. Next, he shuffled over to the slot machines, where he spent another $30 million per year on a disastrous energy War Room. Then Kenney flipped the coin on the Keystone XL pipeline and gambled away another $1.3 Billion.
Kenney has been quick to make risky bets, but he's failed to count the cards, and now the odds are stacked even higher against Albertans.
Alberta’s unemployment rate remains high at 8.5%, the War Room has done nothing but embarrass Albertans internationally, and the Keystone XL pipeline is a dead project.
But the scale of these debacles is nothing compared to Kenney’s riskiest bet of all. He gambled with Albertans’ health and wellbeing and bet against the 4th wave of COVID-19. Jason Kenney said Alberta was “Open for Summer”; he said the modelling didn’t require new restrictions; he said we were moving from the pandemic stage of Covid -19 to endemic and eliminated contact tracing.
The last time we heard from Premier Kenney and Dr. Hinshaw, they said we didn’t need to reverse course—every measure around the pandemic was to remain in place until September 21st. But today’s announcement altering course by half-measures is once again in keeping with Premier Kenney’s UCP-run government’s haphazard approach to handling the pandemic: No consistency except inconsistency. No proactive steps, just reactive ones.
Premier Kenney disappeared for weeks. During a crisis. A crisis of the government’s own making through a complete lack of leadership. COVID-19 cases in Alberta are rising dramatically. We are on track for 6000 new cases a day within a month. Why? Because Jason Kenney put rodeos ahead of people’s health. Nearly 500 Albertans are in the hospital with this deadly virus, and our Premier disappeared on us. Albertans are understandably angry. So am I.