Alberta Politics
Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health during yesterday’s daily COVID-19 briefing (Photo: Screenshot of Government of Alberta Video).

Did the premier just forget to tell his Chief Medical Officer of Health he’s about to end Alberta’s public health emergency?

Posted on May 28, 2020, 1:04 am
4 mins

It was a short exchange during Wednesday afternoon’s daily COVID-19 briefing by Alberta Chief Medical Officer of Health Deena Hinshaw.

It carried quite a bit of information, though.

CBC Provincial Affairs Reporter Michelle Bellefontaine (Photo: Twitter).

Here is my transcription:

Disembodied official voice: “Operator, can you put through the next question, please?”

Operator: “Next is Michelle Bellefonatine with CBC. Go ahead, Michelle.”

Michelle Bellefontaine: “Oh, hi there, Dr. Hinshaw. Thanks for taking my call. Today in the Legislature, Premier Kenney indicated that Alberta will not renew the state of public health emergency on June 15. So what does that mean? And how would that affect people’s lives here in Alberta?”

Dr. Deena Hinshaw: “Uh, so, I, uh, I haven’t had the opportunity to have that conversation. So I think that might be a question best addressed to the premier in terms of that particular information.”

Rick Blaine, as played by Humphrey Bogart (Photo: Warner Bros.).

Dr. Hinshaw keeps a good poker face. Just the same, though, one didn’t have the sense she was pleased.

Good for Ms. Bellefontaine for asking the question. Most of the rest of the media were focused on the complications of allowing NHL teams to play in Alberta during a pandemic, and, more seriously, on the occurrence of a case of Multi-system Inflammatory Syndrome in Children, a serious condition associated with COVID-19.

Will any of the Press Gallery’s reporters bother to put Ms. Bellefontaine’s question to the premier? That remains to be seen.

And good for Dr. Hinshaw, too, I guess, for revealing as much as she did. Premier Jason Kenny and his digital Praetorian Guard won’t be pleased either.

Since she declined politely to follow up, here are your blogger’s thoughts on what her response really meant: Mr. Kenney doesn’t just ignore my advice, he doesn’t even consult me.

Capt. Louis Renault, as played by Claude Rains (Photo: Warner Bros.).

If she had been as annoyed as she looked like she might be, she could have added: I’m considering my options.

Dr. Hinshaw has to know that if there’s a major second wave of COVID-19 as a result of this government’s rush to get back to fighting with physicians, privatizing parks, creating pipeline jobs in Montana, and getting its paws on your Canada Pension Plan, she’s the one who’s going to have to stand there expressing her sympathies with the bereaved and making excuses for the government.

So she might also have said, pay no attention to my little homily at the start of this briefing, about “how COVID-19 was and is a deadly illness,” and “we must continue to be cautious in our relaunch,” because the government of Alberta certainly doesn’t plan to.

Were Dr. Hinshaw not an obvious team player, she might even have made a pithy observation about that bit at the start where she said “we are still in this fight together.” It would seem we’re not.

This all reminds me of a famous bit of movie dialogue:

Capt. Louis Renault: “What in heaven’s name brought you to Casablanca?”

Rick Blaine: “My health. I came to Casablanca for the waters.”

Capt. Renault: “The waters? The waters? We’re in the desert!”

Rick Blaine: “I was misinformed.”

Here endeth the lesson.

22 Comments to: Did the premier just forget to tell his Chief Medical Officer of Health he’s about to end Alberta’s public health emergency?

  1. Dave

    May 28th, 2020

    As I recall from the last time I watched the old movie, Rick and Louis run off to the Belgian Congo together in the end as the final twist in their beautiful, but at times hard to grasp friendship. Neither seem very good at commitment or honesty until forced into it by circumstances, this much they seem to have in common.

    If the Belgian Congo still existed, I doubt Premier Kenney would ever choose to go there and if somehow forced into any sort of principled action he would probably try claim he was misinformed to try escape from it. I suppose he might have this much in common with the movie character. Entente cordial? Pehaps for now, but hardly a beautiful friendship.

    Reply
  2. tom

    May 28th, 2020

    The Kenney government wants to reopen the province so they can get back to shutting it down.

    Reply
  3. Bob Raynard

    May 28th, 2020

    If this goes south will Jason Kenney blame Dr. Hinshaw?

    Reply
    • Brent McFadyen

      May 28th, 2020

      Kenny will throw her under the bus for sure, he has to blame someone else for his treachery .

      Reply
    • Lars

      May 28th, 2020

      Yes, of course he will. Nothing is ever Kenney’s fault.

      Reply
    • Athabascan

      May 29th, 2020

      Who cares? I call it a two scorpions in a jar dilemma. Who do you cheer for?

      Where was Dr. Hinshaw when Kenney was sacrificing Cargill workers for profit?

      Reply
  4. Abs

    May 28th, 2020

    Friends, you are misinformed. It’s just the flu. Who has been telling you otherwise all this time?

    https://calgaryherald.com/opinion/braid-kenney-begins-to-normalize-covid-19-as-a-risk-mainly-to-the-elderly-almost-zero-danger-to-the-young/wcm/264d4e97-bd0e-42c8-8566-be9fcf69f8e7/

    And furthermore, certain segments of the population (i.e. The disenfranchised, unwealthy) have immunity! Immunity, I tells ya!

    “One thing I think we’re learning epidemiologically is that that population has a very high level of immune resistance, of immunity, and resilience against an influenza of this nature,” Kenney said.

    Science be darned! And for fans of Donald, we even have the Alberta version of “build a wall” and “lock her up”, with “her” being grandma, as in Kenney’s “wall of defence” around seniors and the vulnerable. Presumably the miraculously immune homeless will be outside the wall.

    It’s a good thing 18 out of 23 cabinet ministers weren’t in the legislature to hear this brew of shambolism. One of them might have spoken up against this travesty. Oh, right, we know they are part of the hive mind.

    You just can’t make this stuff up. Only in Alberta.

    Reply
    • Murphy

      May 28th, 2020

      I must have missed the part where you provided a link to information that disproved Braid’s assertions about Chupacabra. There is lots of huffing and puffing about Tailgunner Jay, but not much analysis of the data here in Alberta coming from the outraged. Despite the ominous spectre of a new Chupacabra henchman, MISC (think of the children!), there is no evidence contrary to Braid’s claim. Out of just about one thousand positive PCR tests in children, the massive toll wrought by Chupacabra and MISC has resulted in two stays in ICU. It’s a charnel house!
      Flu put 1400 Albertans in hospital out of 8000 positive test cases, Chupacabra put 300 in hospital out of almost 7000 positive cases. So you’re right it’s not flu.
      It provides no end of amusement to me that the entire nature of Chupacabra as perceived by the public in Alberta derives from the failed states in the UK and the US, delivered to us by the kind folks in corporate and state media. Saddam Hussein has saddled up his personal helicopter, which runs on the blood of his own people, and is off to attack London with glow-sticks he got got from Osama bin Laden!
      The fatalities linked to Chupacabra in the care homes provide stark evidence of something seriously awry in the homes, not the lethality of the bug. The billions lost through the socio-economic rituals of the Branch Covidian faith could have gone to actual provision of care to those who might actually be at risk, although it is harder every day to tell just what factors do put someone at risk.
      It seems clear that in the US they massacred thousands of people by using ventilators in their third-world health system. Doctors early on in the panic found that patients had deficiencies in the oxygen-carrying capacity of their blood, but in order to stop the spread of the Chupacabra, they intubated them rather than providing PAP oxygen, and they killed them.
      The numbers of fatalities in the States are absolutely fallacious, and likewise in the UK. Or do you believe that the bug just loves Albertans so much that it only kills the invalided octogenarians trapped in the disgraceful care centres operated by “entrepreneurs”, but the scythe chops down all in NYC?
      According to the Alberta Government, the Chupacabra killed one person in each ten-year-cohort from 20 to 50, and two people in the 50-59 bracket. But even those numbers are highly suspect as the PCR tests have at least a one-in-ten false positive rate. So which is more likely, that the bug killed one in a thousand in those groups, or that the single fatalities were subject to a one-in-ten garbage test?
      We’ll never know, but we do know that those single fatal cases all went on the books early in the panic and try as they might, no other school and working age folks were able to succumb.
      Nevertheless, I will continue to newspaper my windows each evening to avert the possible attack by the naval and air forces of Imperial Japan, because we’re all in this together.
      https://www.alberta.ca/stats/covid-19-alberta-statistics.htm
      https://globalnews.ca/news/6741560/alberta-flu-season-2019-2020-26-deaths/
      https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/928156

      Chupacabra has turned out to be the worst draft-pick ever in the history of grave threats to humanity, but there’s always hope. My late grandmother would have loved this. She was a fortune teller, and thus well-versed in the manipulation of folks through their anxieties, although I have to say, her methods (tea leaves and cards) were more scientific and rooted in reason than Covidmania. She plied her trade a few months each year at the Hotel Vancouver, and among her clients long ago was Bill Kenny. This little number is quite apropos to the ending of the Great Alberta Chupacabra Plague.
      “The Ink Spots – Until The Real Thing Comes Along”
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AFSfcthAimU

      Reply
    • Murphy

      May 28th, 2020

      Further to your plaintive cry to save the homeless from Chupacabra, I finally returned to work last week, at night, in the downtown core. The only people about were police and the homeless, who are now legion in Calgary. I would challenge anyone to find a stand of three trees in Calgary that does not constitute the infrastructure of a hobo jungle. Great to see that End Homelessness by 2018 worked so well. The “outdoorsmen” were huddled in their customary groups, with the customary numbers roving about betwen groups on BMX bicycles, seemingly without a care in the world, (other than the usual ones that drive people to live in the now-permanent street society). I spent 14 months working with this population at a facility that shall remain nameless (fired without cause and signed a non-disclosure agreement to get severance) and in that time I caught two adenoviruses that permanently ravaged my innards. The clients had outbreaks of MRSA and other nasty pathogens, that spread rapidly and thoroughly. If Chupacabra posed a real threat, it would have torn through the indigent faster than you can say Domino Theory. And it has not done so. But hey, better to completely upend society, rather than say, having 67-year-olds stay home from work at Cargill while an epidemic is occurring.

      Reply
    • Dfjo

      May 28th, 2020

      As far as I aware, Flu normally leads to a-poopin’ and a-sprewin’. I am not aware of any strain of influenza that requires blood thinners to block the clotting that has occurred to individuals sick from Covid. This first came to light at a hospital in N.Y.C.

      Reply
      • Rocky

        May 28th, 2020

        You are mistaken. Influenza is a respiratory disease. A-poopin’ and a-spewin’ as you put it so colourfully is unusual among adults infected with influenza. Diarrhea and vomiting occur more in gastroenteritis, which is an unrelated disease, although it is frequently inaccurately called “stomach flu”. Just call me Dr. Rocky. “

        Reply
        • Murphy

          May 29th, 2020

          This is why the Branch Covidian faith has taken off in what is definitely one of the Great Revivals. Comprehensive lack of information amongst the those being proselytized. Sometimes it causes me to tremble!
          “Were You There When They Crucified My Lord”
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3egxGf_63Cg

          Reply
    • Keith McClary

      May 28th, 2020

      Braid: “Increasingly, he refers to the disease as ‘influenza,’ although most health experts put it in a unique category of severity and contagion.”

      This is like referring to a giraffe as an octopus. The viruses are not closely related:
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baltimore_classification
      Corona is in Class IV. Influenza is in Class V under Orthomyxoviruses.

      Reply
  5. Bill Malcolm

    May 28th, 2020

    I saw that clip live on CBC News Network on the main network . They often stuff Dr Hinshaw’s press conferences on air after the local evening news here in Halifax to no one’s interest whatsoever with Vassy Kapelos gabbling away like Dr Demento in the background. When Kapelos takes over the commentary is when I change channels. Dr Hinshaw’s stammering response from the surprise she experienced from Bellefontaine’s query was not adequately portrayed by the transcript above. Most awkward for her. Her tension is always in great contrast to Dr Bonnie Henry next door in BC. Is there a Chief PHO in Sask? Never seen hide nor hair of them.

    Well anyway, kenney knows you land-lubberly Albertans have had a three month paid luxury vacation and dopefest courtesy of the feds because some of his UCP party workers are part of that crew, and is worried you all might have forgotten how to put nose to grindstone. Quite enough cavorting about. Time to get back to Making kenney Great Again. Sure, there’s a few plague flareups here and there, so what? It’s all officially over June 15. Defeated like Vietnam by Nixon and Ford. He’s sick and tired of the pause; it’s time to waste some REAL money! Yours.

    Reply
  6. Abs

    May 28th, 2020

    It occurred to me that It would be easier to steal pension funds from deceased seniors than from living pensioners, who tend to get vocal about such things. To a ruthless person devoid of humanity, someone like Jason Kenney for example, people over 60, the immune compromised, those with multiple health conditions and the 82+ crowd, are money on the hoof. They don’t produce profit until they are harvested. If the oldest seniors simply get disposed of conveniently on their 83rd birthdays, the pension money otherwise disbursed to them could revert to foolish, risky AIMCo. Investments in resource companies friendly to the UCP. This would apply only to LAPP and others for now, until the CPP can be spirited away from everyone by the UCP. Then, guess what’s cooking for your 83rd birthday? You! After all, you are of limited value to Kenney’s Alberta after your 60th birthday or if you have any imperfections; and no value at all after 82 years of age. You are nothing more than money on the hoof, Albertans.

    (And soon enough you useless eaters in the above categories will have your health care plans declared null and void when the system is privatized. Promise made, soon to be kept. Didn’t you read the election platform that was updated tomorrow?)

    Reply
  7. Just Me

    May 28th, 2020

    I guess Kenney will do anything to bring the Stanley Cup finals to Edmonton, though I can’t say what he hopes to accomplish if no fans are allowed in the stands and no Canadian teams survive the first round.

    Ending the emergency orders will pretty throw all the precautions to the winds and let everyone do as they please. Maybe that will mean that fans will be in the packed stands, unmasked and coughing on each other.

    Given Kenney’s fantastic streak of incredible bad luck over the last year, I can’t wait for Alberta to be declared the “other China” thanks to the massive super-spreader event that will radiate out of Alberta and around the world.

    Second wave, anyone?

    Reply
  8. Abs

    May 28th, 2020

    In conclusion, Jason Kenney can get Joseph (who?) Schow to tell Dr. Hinshaw to “Settle down, kitty cat.” That should do it. Works for Schow. It’s how he deals with women in the legislature. Looks like one of those marches with full cat ear regalia is overdue.

    Reply
  9. Curious George

    May 28th, 2020

    And that is the one thing I fail to understand and find so reprehensible. Why are these individuals that are well educated and respected, fail to have to have the courage to resign from their job and thereby send a message.

    Does not have have degrade into a tell-all just have the courage to resign, step aside, be done with it. But I guess money, benefits, and prestige will always overcome (I was going to say trump – but that is just bad) integrity.

    Mind you the same would apply to Dr. Fauci and Dr. Brix in the USA or any other MD who failed to step aside, especially during this pandemic.

    This is as much a problem that Mr. Kenney creates as it is of those around him, who through their in-actions become enablers.

    Reply
  10. Just Me

    May 29th, 2020

    I fully expect Hinshaw to either resign very soon or be forced out.

    Ken-DOH! is employing a Trump strategy, where he listens to Hinshaw but does the exact opposite.

    During a recent exchange with a caller, conservative talk-radio blow-hard and soon to be cancer victim, Rush Limbaugh, revealed a secret about Trump relationship with Dr. Fauci. Limbaugh revealed that Trump listens to Fauci and respects his views and advice; but the moment Fauci is out of the room, Trump says, “Now…whatever he said, we’re not doing it.” That’s the extent of Hinshaw’s influence at this point.

    Whether or not Hinshaw wants to be around when the second wave hits, and wrecks greater havoc, would not be a dereliction of her duties; rather, it would be her admission that she has no influence over Kenney’s panicked mind.

    Reply
  11. Abs

    May 29th, 2020

    Even Global news is decrying the “flu” speech in the legislature. This has been a costly mistake for Jason Kenney.

    https://globalnews.ca/news/7000260/alberta-premier-jason-kenney-covid-19-speech-trumpian/amp/?__twitter_impression=true

    “A day after his speech in the legislature, Kenney says his comments are being misrepresented or they’re misunderstood,” the article reads. For anyone not versed in the tactics of narcissists, this is classic. He said what he said. It meant what it meant. It was recorded six times, and in a subsequent media interview. It was a prepared speech. This was calculated and intentional. It was shrewd, but narcissists always trip themselves up in their own superiority eventually. It’s never good to assume everyone else is stupid.

    Reply
  12. Abs

    May 29th, 2020

    Four free flu masks with every purchase at the drive-thru. Grab ’em while they’re hot. I’m not lovin’ it. How about the walk-up counter for people without a vehicle? What next, “Would you like a nasal swab with that?” Doc in a box coming soon. Family doctors who cannot find their own meducal masks to buy after July 1 should jump on this deal now, and go round and round in the drive-thru. There’s no limit on how many times you can do this. The inept clownitude continues.

    https://calgary.ctvnews.ca/mobile/alberta-to-distribute-20-million-face-masks-at-a-w-mcdonald-s-and-tim-hortons-drive-thrus-1.4960115

    Reply

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