Alberta Liberal Interim Leader John Roggeveen issues the following statement in reaction to today’s announced COVID-19 restrictions:
“The Kenney Government’s barely heightened COVID-19 restrictions are pathetically inadequate. The UCP half-measures will keep Alberta in a perpetual COVID-19 Groundhog Day. An enforced circuit breaker shutdown is the only way to overcome this virulent, potentially lethal threat. A 10% positivity rate is alarming. The variants are winning.
“To defeat the COVID-19 virus we need strong, resolute action. We must shut down in-person attendance at our schools now, close all non-essential businesses, declare stay-at-home orders and enforce tougher restrictions on essential businesses. We now have 10,809 active cases, including 4,604 variant cases. This sharp rise in cases – and more harmful variants in particular – can’t be taken lightly.
“Alberta can’t afford to treat this wave of the pandemic the same as the last one. Variant cases are proving more transmissible and more deadly. We need a stronger response for a more dangerous phase of the pandemic. Non-compliance is no excuse for half measures. Alberta has the highest number of cases per capita in Canada. This health emergency demands stricter enforcement.
“Albertans want competent leadership and science-based solutions to the pandemic. A spineless government will prolong the agony. We need a broad shutdown now to stop the explosion of COVID-19 cases, as the December shutdown did, and put Alberta back on the path to recovery. This is the right move for Albertans’ safety and for Alberta’s economy. Regrettably, Jason Kenney and the UCP are failing Albertans again.”
Alberta Liberal Leader John Roggeveen releases the following statement in response to the “Alberta Jobs Now” program:
“The joint federal-provincial “Alberta Jobs Now” program is a long-overdue initiative from the UCP government. The Alberta Liberals have been calling for investment in job training and education grants for out-of-work Albertans since the 2019 election campaign.
We are pleased the Alberta government has joined us in listening to what business leaders, economists, entrepreneurs and workers have to say. This joint federal-provincial program will help tackle Alberta’s staggeringly high unemployment rate.
“It is also a breath of fresh air to see the UCP government work with the federal government on this program. Despite heated rhetoric from the UCP, the federal Liberal government has consistently had the backs of Albertans. More can be accomplished working with them than being stubbornly against any program just because it requires cooperation with a Liberal government. This program is proof of that.
“However, I’m concerned about the length this program will last. The need to upgrade skills will be an ongoing one. Currently, this project will only last for one year. This program also needs to be part of a longer-term economic plan. It’s not enough on its own.”
“This program is a start, but it is not a silver bullet solution. We don’t just need a skilled workforce; we also need an educated one. The drastic cuts to post-secondary education by the UCP government are detrimental to long-term job creation. They will eventually cripple any job creation benefits that Albertans gain from short-term programs. A commitment to job growth through a skilled labour force means that higher education must be a part of that equation. Whatever our political stripe, we all want our children and grandchildren to be better off than we are.”
Alberta Liberal Interim Leader John Roggeveen issues the following statement in reaction to the enhanced public health measures.
“Jason Kenney’s announced enhanced measures are a step in the right direction, but tragically too late. I agree with many of the new measures introduced. These are good decisions. They would have been even better decisions a month ago when health experts and the Alberta Liberal Party called for them as part of a circuit breaker lockdown. Choosing to do the right thing a month late isn’t leadership, it’s damage control.
“Tardiness isn’t the only issue with Kenney’s new measures. Waiting until May 9th to implement certain measures only incentivizes a rush to patios and salons in the coming days. COVID-19 isn’t taking it slow and neither can we. While it would be ideal to give businesses a grace period before measures take effect, delaying necessary measures as long as this UCP government has means that's no longer an option. Both the lack of details and lack of emphasis on enforcement from Premier Kenney is a serious red flag. For these measures to work we need people following them.
“Kenney’s new restrictions would be easier to follow if they were accompanied by new financial support for business and individuals. Medicine really is easier to swallow with a spoon full of sugar. More importantly, such programs would help Albertans weather the negative consequences of restrictions.
“We encourage all Albertans to do their part and follow public health measures, get vaccinated when it’s their turn, and hopefully we can get this virus under control.”