Alberta Politics
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney at yesterday’s COVID-19 briefing (Photo: Screenshot of Government of Alberta video).

Hot take: your gut’s probably right, it’s too soon to declare COVID-19 vanquished

Posted on May 01, 2020, 1:52 am
7 mins

At least Alberta Premier Jason Kenney didn’t have a “Mission Accomplished” banner hanging behind him.

But then, being landlocked and all that, Alberta doesn’t own an aircraft carrier even if it now owns a hunk of a U.S. pipeline. Plus, Mr. Kenney wouldn’t look all that good in a flight suit.

Chief Medical Officer of Health Deena Hinshaw yesterday (Photo: Screenshot of Government of Alberta video).

Still, like president George W. Bush 17 years ago today announcing total victory in the U.S. invasion of Iraq 42 days earlier — with benefit of hindsight we all know that didn’t turn out very well — Mr. Kenney’s jaunty declaration he would start immediately to “relaunch” Alberta’s economy smacks of overconfidence.

Hubris might be the wrong term, of course. Is it still hubris if someone else has to pay for your prideful overconfidence that now is the time to roll back the social controls that have been key to success so far in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic?

Let’s just hope the rest of this war against COVID-19 goes better than the rest of Mr. Bush’s so-called global war on terror did! Remember, at the time of president Bush’s Mission Accomplished Speech, U.S. casualties in Iraq stood at 139 killed and 542 wounded.

According to Premier Kenney, returning to business as usual will be a three-stage process, starting in two weeks on May 14.

In reality, though, it starts immediately with the reopening of golf courses, supposedly with no access to the 19th Hole and appropriate social controls elsewhere on the links, and provincial parks less their soon-to-be-privatized campgrounds, subject to a similar hard-to-guarantee caveat. Resumption of elective surgeries in hospitals and permission to hold religious services including funerals will come in the next few days.

No doubt the yahoos from End the Lockdown Alberta who protested against the restrictions necessary to slow the spread of COVID-19 at the Alberta Legislature in Edmonton the day before yesterday will pat themselves on the back and give themselves credit for the timing of Mr. Kenney’s announcement.

Come to think of it, they just might be right. They are, after all, the United Conservative Party’s base, and in a party like the UCP, when the base ain’t happy ain’t nobody happy!

More likely, though, it was driven by political considerations of a slightly different sort — the inflexible electoral calendar that dictates the most unpopular part of Mr. Kenney’s radical economic restructuring agenda must be completed in the next year, or year and a half at most, to give time for the illusion of improvement necessary for re-election.

President George W. Bush prematurely declares the U.S. mission in Iraq accomplished on this day in 2003 (Photo: History.com).

As people keep pointing out, the middle of a global pandemic is a crazy time to be fighting a war with your province’s physicians. So how are Mr. Kenney and Health Minister Tyler Shandro going to win their Mother of All Political Battles with Alberta’s docs if voters keep thinking the pandemic isn’t over?

And as others have observed, Mr. Kenney’s little instructional seminar yesterday — which occupied the bulk of the daily COVID-19 briefing — sure sounded like a campaign speech.

So will it work? Can it work?

Well, as a physician of my acquaintance says — it might, as the premier put it, “as long as the numbers hold.”

But Mr. Kenney’s optimism notwithstanding, the numbers aren’t actually all that good right now.

Alberta is now the only province in which the curve of daily COVID-19 cases is still rising. That may be the result of aggressive testing. But more likely it’s connected to the major coronavirus outbreaks in the slaughterhouse towns of High River and Brooks, where this government’s unwillingness to stand up to the powerful meatpacking multinationals and homegrown cattlemen is at the root of the problem.

Alberta’s rate at which COVID-19 cases are increasing is now 6 per cent, more than double that of the rest of Canada.

With the main part of Mr. Kenney’s official first phase set to begin in only two weeks, with restaurants, daycares, hair salons and other retail businesses allowed to reopen — supposedly with appropriate controls in place, although they are bound to be hard to enforce — this could mean the second wave of infection will be worse than the first if the public grows complacent.

Even worse, the first wave may not have crested yet, with a second wave still to come in the fall.

Up to now, the gravity of public concern and Albertans’ respect for scientific expertise has allowed us to flatten the curve, as the doctors say.

But every day, if you’ve been paying attention to the government’s daily COVID-19 briefing, Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw has been pushed further to the side and now to the back by Mr. Kenney and other UCP politicians.

This doesn’t bode well for Alberta doing what’s necessary to keep the pandemic at bay, especially if it threatens to derail the UCP’s political program.

This government’s intention is to get us back to “business as usual” as soon as possible.

The pandemic has taught us some powerful lessons about the usual way we do business. Is business as usual where we really want to go?

38 Comments to: Hot take: your gut’s probably right, it’s too soon to declare COVID-19 vanquished

  1. Bill Malcolm

    May 1st, 2020

    You got Major Numbnutz in charge there, me boyo. With about three hundred new CV-19 cases a day in Alberta, who but someone who cares not a ratsass about people would take the risk of re-opening so soon? Well, Legault in Quebec for another, who seems similarly challenged in the brain department as Duke in Charge Jason kenney.

    The whole point about what we have done as a country to “flatten the curve” is that we might not experience a horrow show like elsewhere. So rather than understand that concept , two provinces not doing all that well have effectively said, this is nowhere near as bad as we were led to believe it would be, so have at it! Fill yer boots. Get
    some virus. Who cares what the doctors and epidemiologists say? We pols know best.
    Am I supposed to support this nonsense with taxes?

    And if we are to really wonder at bread-dead entitled people who need a firm hand to follow simple regulations, the report yesterday from a West Coast of Newfoundland town mayor on CBC Radio about Quebeckers swanning around the east coast of Newfoundland to see icebergs beggared belief. Somehow these people got through the NB, NS, CN Ferry Security, and NL border controls and when questioned, had zero idea they were supposed to quarantine themselves for 14 days. That’s the kind of thing that bothers me about lifting restrictions too soon. Dumb folk who think they’re special. Most places are full of them.

    Reply
  2. tom

    May 1st, 2020

    All true, Dave–but don’t forget Jason Kenney’s ambition to lead Canada’s first red state.

    Reply
  3. Bob Raynard

    May 1st, 2020

    As this talk of re-opening the economy has gone on, I have wracked my brain with one question: what has happened to make things different now than they were in late March, that would make the things implemented then no longer necessary? The vast majority of people have not caught the disease, so they are just as vulnerable as they were when the disease first appeared. Furthermore, medical science doesn’t seemed to have developed any revolutionary way of treating the illness that would make catching it any less concerning, and we still don’t have a vaccine.

    Since we are all defenseless, I suspect we are all destined to be exposed to the virus. If so, my thinking is that the whole purpose of ‘flattening the curve’ is to prolong the epidemic so people can become infected in an orderly fashion, so medical help is available to those who need it, rather than have everyone get it at once and be told to die at home since there are no hospitals. This also buys time to develop treatment or even a vaccine. Canadian Blood Services has a call out to people who have recovered from Covid so they can experiment using their antibodies as part of a treatment program.

    The only thing I can see that has changed is that people now take the situation seriously, and have adopted the necessary protocols to keep the infection rate slowed. I see evidence of this by the increased number of people wearing masks, and when I see people stepping on to the road to maintain an adequate distance when they encounter someone on the sidewalk. Compare this to the behaviour of southern Albertans on the lovely weather weekend at the beginning of Alberta’s pandemic experience, when everyone crowded into provincial park parking lots, and precipitated the closure of provincial parks. I expect the government’s thinking is that the same people will behave differently now.

    If this is true, then, it is clear that at least some of the closures could have been prevented if people would have believed the experts from the get-go. The link below reports the research Angus Reid did on people’s attitudes towards Covid, and how it has changed. It shows how the percentage of people who thought all this Covid talk was overblown has diminished significantly.

    http://angusreid.org/covid-19-serious-vs-overblown/

    Reply
  4. Athabascan

    May 1st, 2020

    We all know this isn’t over.

    It won’t truly be over until we eradicate the most dangerous virus known as Jason Kenney.

    In just over one year, he’s done more damage and ruined more lives than COVID-19 could ever do.

    For all Albertans, our biggest threat is Kenney and not COVID-19.

    Reply
    • Public Servant

      May 1st, 2020

      Could not agree more!

      Reply
    • SENIORS

      May 29th, 2020

      We could not agree more, Kenney is in the process of gutting our health care and educational system as he has given all the money to the “oil industry” including his new fancy offices. And what is this about selling 167 Provincial Parks??? HELP!

      Reply
      • SENIORS

        May 29th, 2020

        Now is not the time to throw away all the good work that has been done by social distancing and staying at home. It is too early to throw caution to the wind and not listen to the health experts. This is not going to turn out well if we open everything up as Kenney has planned, look at what has happened to the south of us??!!

        Reply
  5. J.E. Molnar

    May 1st, 2020

    The biggest disappointment of late has been the performance of Dr. Deena Hinshaw and her obsequious obedience to Jason Kenney, the health minister and the agriculture minister.

    The meat packing plants should be closed until the proper precautions are taken to protect the health and well-being of plant workers. What metric does it take for Dr. Hinshaw to truly act like a medical officer of health for the province and close commercial facilities that are severely impacted by the virus? Is it the number of deaths, the number of COVID-19 cases or some other abstract interpretation foisted upon her by Jason Kenney the UCP brain trust? With a population of 4.4 million, testing only 5,000 people a day hardly reflects the potential number of COVID-19 in the province.

    Until expanded testing is done, opening up the province on May 14th to widespread commercial activity, is fraught with peril. Sadly, Albertans may come to regret Mr. Kenney’s unbridled enthusiasm for prematurely reopening the province’s businesses and recreational facilities during this vicious pandemic that has taken the lives of thousands of people worldwide.

    Reply
    • Lars

      May 1st, 2020

      You have to remember that Deena Hinshaw is subordinate to the Premier – you can be quite sure that he never forgets that. As David says, she’s being pushed to the side due to political considerations. Kenney is not capable of taking an evidence-based approach to a problem. The strain of having to do so for even as long as he did must have been unbearable.
      Dr. Hinshaw is probably hoping that she can use her position to do what good she can. But look at how easily she was pushed out of the way in the Cargill situation. Devin Dreeshan took charge there. After all, he’s the son of a Conservative MP, and as such is totally qualified to handle, well, anything.

      Reply
      • J.E. Molnar

        May 2nd, 2020

        Sometimes LARS it takes intestinal fortitude to stand up to a bully — especially if you’re Alberta’s chief medical officer of health and lives are at stake.

        I recall one such brave MOH; his name was David Swan and he was the Medical Officer of Health for Palliser Health and Headwaters Health regions before being fired in 2002 by Conservatives for standing up and calling for real government action on climate change and reductions to air pollution. So, once in a blue moon real courage against conservative governments does happen. Too bad Dr. Hinshaw seems to have lost hers in this time of serious crisis.

        Reply
        • Lars

          May 2nd, 2020

          True enough, but look at what happened to David Swann – he was immediately fired and wasn’t in a position to do anything.
          I’m not saying that a principled stance is a waste of time or fruitless virtue-signalling, but can you imagine who Kenney’d find to do the job if Deena Hinshaw was put on the road?

          Reply
        • Bob Raynard

          May 3rd, 2020

          The really sad part of all this is that if reopening the economy goes south, Kenney can claim to be blameless since they followed Dr. Hinshaw’s advice. He will then appear to be within his rights to fire Dr. Hinshaw, and blame her like he has Dr. Tam.

          Reply
    • Public Servant

      May 1st, 2020

      Let’s face it: these folks don’t matter to Kenney. They are poor and a lot of them are temporary foreign workers – expendable in other words.

      Reply
    • Kang

      May 1st, 2020

      Dr. Hinshaw answers to the following Cabinet Committee:

      Emergency Management Cabinet Committee
      During a state of emergency, the following members would be appointed to the EMCC by Order in Council:
      • Hon. Jason Kenney (Chair)no formal academic credentials beyond religious high school
      • Hon. Kaycee Madu Lawyer
      • Hon. Travis Toews Accountant, MBA
      • Hon. Jason Nixon SAIT Business School Graduate
      • Hon. Devin Dreeshen no formal academic credentials beyond high school
      • Hon. Ric McIver no formal academic credentials beyond high school
      • Hon. Prasad Panda Bachelor of Tech, Mechanical Engineering
      • Hon. Rajan Sawhney BA, Econ and Political Science. MBA U of C.
      • Hon. Tyler Shandro Lawyer
      • Hon. Rick Wilson no formal academic credentials beyond high school

      The only one on that committee that might have even a passing understanding of medical and public health issues would be Ms. Sawhney.

      The opening is a political rather than a medical decision. If it turns out badly, there is the list of people responsible.

      Reply
      • Athabascan

        May 2nd, 2020

        You left our Jason Copping the Minister of Labour who was present when workers at Cargill were their jobs were 100% safe to perform, and who was involved in minimum wage roll-backs.

        Reply
        • Kang

          May 3rd, 2020

          That list came from the Government of Alberta web site on May the first. Unless I missed the Minister of Labour, I don’t believe he was on that committee. But really all that matters is Kenney is there. Like the Pope, when he sits upon the Throne, his pronouncements are infallible. However, unlike the Pope, who has no battalions, Kenney can deploy a willing cadre of civil servants, Cabinet Ministers, MLAs, Crown Prosecutors, RCMP, and Sheriffs to enforce his edicts. Workers beware, your leader has pronounced you have nothing to fear about viruses and we have the laws to prove it!

          Reply
        • Bob Raynard

          May 3rd, 2020

          Thanks for the link, Just Me. You can add to the list threatening a conservation officer, whichis ironic since he is now conservation officers’ leader, and his government considers conservation officers capable of responding to crime calls. This is an essay I wrote when I first learned about it:

          In 2009 Jason Nixon was working at Mountain Aire Lodge, an addict recovery centre. In April of that year, Nixon, as well as a recovering addict living at the centre, and 2 others, came upon a dead horse on an isolated road. It was a safety hazard, so the group of them pushed it off the road. The incident was probably forgotten about at that point.

          At the time, however, there was apparently a problem with people shooting wild horses in the foothills, and a $25,000 reward was available for tips on catching people responsible.

          Unfortunately, over the course of the few months after the April 2009 non-event, the recovering addict relapsed and, desperate for cash, went to the RCMP and reported Nixon for having illegally shot the horse, then immediately asked for his reward. In January of 2010 the RCMP arrested Nixon in an excessively violent arrest, and Nixon eventually sued the police for the wrongful arrest.

          Lisa Corbella reports on the arrest in her column

          https://calgaryherald.com/news/local-news/corbella-ucps-jason-nixon-is-a-giant-in-every-way

          Reading Corbella’s story, the reader is left wondering what would possess the RCMP to engage in such a violent arrest.

          Imbedded, timewise, with this event, was another brush Mr. Nixon had with the law, which Ms Corbella chose to ignore. On January 4 of 2010 a conservation officer appeared at Mountain Aire Lodge investigating an illegally shot deer. Nixon got annoyed with the officer’s persistence, and (allegedly?) said to a colleague that he was ‘going to manhandle’ the conservation officer in a minute. (Nixon’s comment was picked up by the conservation officer’s camera, presented in court and acknowledged by the judge. I don’t know if that establishes it as fact or if it remains ‘alleged’.)

          Unfortunately, Ms Corbella does not give the precise date of Nixon’s excessively violent arrest, but since the deer incident happened on Jan 4, it is quite likely that the arrest occurred after. If so, when the police were doing their preparation for the arrest, they would have seen that Nixon is a giant of a man (Corbella’s words) who was under investigation for threatening a conservation (i.e. law enforcement) officer. With that background, it isn’t hard to see how the police would feel the need for caution when making the arrest, especially since it was also quite likely there were firearms on the premises.

          On April 27, 2011, the horse killing charges were withdrawn shortly after Nixon’s trial started. Six weeks later Nixon was back in court on the threatening the conservation officer charge. Since his manhandling comment was recorded, Nixon could hardly deny he made it. Instead he testified he had just said it to another man standing nearby, and it wasn’t meant for the conservation officer to hear, in spite of the fact it was said clearly enough for the recording equipment on the conservation truck to pick up.

          When ruling on the case, the judge accepted Jason Nixon’s claim that the comment was not intended for the conservation officer’s ears. I find it incomprehensible that ‘he wasn’t supposed to hear it’ can be used a defense against threatening a law enforcement officer. This whole situation really feels like the judge gave Nixon a pass on the threatening charge because he had been so egregiously mistreated in the horse case. My guess is that is also why the crown chose not to appeal the acquittal.

          https://www.pressreader.com/canada/calgary-herald/20110614/281998964072611

          https://calgaryherald.com/news/local-news/corbella-ucps-jason-nixon-is-a-giant-in-every-way

          Reply
    • Bob Raynard

      May 2nd, 2020

      I really hope Dr. Hinshaw has been emailing her recommendations to the premier; they could make for interesting reading later on.

      Lars and Kang’s points notwithstanding, I would argue that Dr. Hinshaw has such a large amount of public approval; it would be political suicide for the government to fire her.

      Reply
  6. Albertan

    May 1st, 2020

    It remains if there is more to come……
    “Employee at Fort Macleod processing plant tests postive for COVID-19”
    http://www.globalnews.ca/news/6890185/employee-covid-19-alberta-fort-macleod-processing-plant/
    Personally, I believe there is more, to come, and now, “back to business” means, more concern re: exposure to the COVID-19 virus. Concern, includes 20% of adults who are infected with the virus have a severe outcome, which could include permanent, chronic illness, or, even death. How many of us will continue to avoid the businesses/areas being allowed to open?

    Reply
    • Murphy

      May 2nd, 2020

      A maximum of 6.7% of Alberta adults who tested positive suffered severe outcomes. 311 of 4878 cases as of today’s figures. Again, this figure is composed to a significant degree by people over age 80 who are not even hospitalized and die in their care homes. More than half the severe outcomes are people over age seventy. Fully 97% of adults under age 60 who test positive do not suffer severe outcomes. The notion of implementing the social and economic constraints we have seen, given these figures, which come from the Alberta government, is absurd.

      Reply
  7. Abs

    May 1st, 2020

    Dr. Deena Hinshaw is a huge disappointment, after a rock star performance. Now the doctor doesn’t listen to science. God help us all.

    We knew this was coming when Jason Kenney attacked Dr. Theresa Tam. Gag the scientists, especially the female ones. Gag the scientists who outshine the shiniest man in a shiny suit. Every show has only one star.

    Kenney had thrown Dr. Hinshaw under the bus earlier, and now she will have to wear the consequences of this. Better to dig in and resign. Her choice. Maybe this stunt is meant to show doctors that they are all on a very short leash. One false move, any resistance, and the only thing being planked is a career. Who’s the boss now? Such smug satisfaction. Oh, what a tangled web!

    Reply
  8. Public Servant

    May 1st, 2020

    As I saw on social media if the two largest outbreaks in Alberta were at Bankers Hall and the Bow building this province would be on total lockdown.

    Because it’s only marginalized workers (and a lot of temporary foreign workers), let’s get at ‘er!

    As long as the CEOs and such can golf it’s all good.

    Reply
  9. Murphy

    May 1st, 2020

    The approach everywhere in the world has been science-free. This is a political and economic emergency in Alberta, not a health emergency. Despite Herculean efforts of various state and corporate media to peddle this as the second 1918 influenza, there is no scientific evidence anywhere to support this nonsense. The Alberta “program” has absolutely failed to protect the only people who may actually be at risk from the bug, given that fully 86% of fatalities are people over 70, with most being people trapped in care homes. There is no evidence presented to the public regarding the medical condition of these people who died, other than a “positive” Covid test. This is the age cohort among whom mortality occurs. Among people under 60, there have been four deaths, in two months, out of 4400 positive cases. This includes a grand total of 0 people under age 20. From that same group of 4400 positive cases under age 60, a whopping 61 have ever been hospitalized, at any time, with the bug. From 6100 cases of lab-confirmed influenza last year, 1391 people were hospitalized. 214 from 5355 total Covid cases have been hospitalized here.
    This is all nothing but hype. Did the massive burst of infections at the packing plants result in a flooding of the hospitals?
    Sweden failed to protect the only vulnerable group, just like here, if we are to believe that Covid actually ends the lives of the people over aged seventy who are in homes. But in Sweden they kept schools and restaurants open. Magically, the most virulent and aggressive of pathogens in history only infected 21 000 people, mostly in Stockhom, a city with a greater population density than London, England. Maybe the bug just doesn’t like Swedes.
    Time after time, claims made by officials and media have been proven to be either distortions or outright lies. The doctor wipe-out in Italy? 60 physicians, form 17 000 positive tests, most over age seventy, some as old as 96, including psychiatrists and dentists.
    Millions of deaths? They won’t hit the 2017-18 flu numbers in the US with Covid, despite Mary Lou Retton routines in piling up the death numbers in NYC. The MASH hospitals sat empty and are being dismantled.
    There’s no getting around the fact that we were told that the plague was coming and that it was the worst thing ever, back on January 30, two weeks after the first “confirmed” fatality occurred in China. 100% evidence-free panic.
    But you know, Trump and Kenney.

    This is definitely the 1985 Oilers in terms of psy-ops, but it’s brought to you by the same people who gave you the fleet of Sandinista Migs, Sandinista cocaine traffickers, the great Kuwaiti incubator hi-jack, the Iraqi Barbarossa operation against Saudi Arabia, the Iraqi WMD programs that were going to destroy London, the installation of Drumpf via semi-literate Facebook users, etc.

    Reply
  10. Magda

    May 1st, 2020

    What Premier Geniusboy hasn’t figured out yet – and to be fair, he’s not alone, there are a lot of people demanding that restrictions be dropped across Canada and in the US – is this: what happens when you open the economy and no one shows up?

    Reply
  11. Just Me

    May 1st, 2020

    One thing that can be said about Ken-DOH! Is that he is an unfailing optimist.

    Even when the people are dropping in the streets and there’s bodies everywhere, he will still declare that the worst is over and there’s nothing to see here, as he kicks the dropping corpses in a ditch.

    But then he believed that there would be a spectacular oil price boom the moment he was elected. And there’s no shortage of blue ribbon panels to solve every ill, because there’s no shortage of CON hacks laying about for an appointment.

    So, enjoy the fun and hide the bodies. Postmedia hacks are working 24/7 coming up with the latest distraction and an idle War Room’s work is never done.

    Kenney has declared days of rainbows and unicorns, so be a good Buffalo and run off that cliff.

    Reply
    • Murphy

      May 2nd, 2020

      Fortunately nothing even remotely resembling bodies dropping in the streets is likely to happen. Unless the private care homes drive their palliative charges out the door.

      Reply
  12. Scotty on Denman

    May 1st, 2020

    The K-Boy in a flight suit? Thnx a lot! Take me all day just to drink that thought outta my mind. Thank goodness it’s Freya’s Day!

    Reply
    • David Climenhaga

      May 2nd, 2020

      It’s also Assault Rifle Ban Friday. Should be made a national holiday. DJC

      Reply
  13. Jessica Hallam

    May 1st, 2020

    Minutes before the press conference announcing the relaunch strategy, I had mentioned to a family member, “I don’t think I’ve ever said anything good about Jason Kenney, but I’m happy as hell we aren’t relaxing measures anytime soon.”

    So this is my fault, guys. I apologize.

    Reply
  14. Dave

    May 1st, 2020

    I agree the risks of reopening, possibly too soon should not be under estimated. However, at times Mr. Kenney can be a clever politician with all his years of experience in politics, so that should not be under estimated either and I think he figured out all the political cancellations carefully on this one.

    It is true that there is some pressure more on the right wing side to reopen things more quickly. While some of the demonstrators at the Legislature may be foolhardy, I do think there is a general sense of fatigue starting to build about staying at home and some of the rules do not make sense. For instance why should a small retail business with just a few customers in the store at a time be forced to stay closed, while a large business like Wal Mart which has many more has remained open throughout. Some of these small businesses retail businesses did not qualify for for the federal emergency relief loans while larger businesses got generous 75% wage subsidies. I understand governments had to make decisions quickly and sometimes imperfectly , but there will also be an accountability and a reckoning that will happen once the crisis has past and those excuses will not satisfy people whose livelihoods or lives have been put at risk.

    I think Mr. Kenney may need to be accountable for deaths in High River, as it was his governments decision to close small retail shops with less than 5 people in them at a time, while huge packing plants with hundreds of workers remained open. However, if he does not blow the re-opening too much, he probably will not get himself into further trouble. The provinces seems to be moving somewhat in concert in reopening, so perhaps there is some safety in numbers, as long as Alberta does not get too far ahead or fall too far behind the rest of the country.

    Also isolation fatigue is building, so there is also a risk more people will start to ignore the restrictions if they feel the crisis has passed, either more obviously like the protestors at the Legislature, or more likely as many will do more quietly. We are not a police state and the police can not be everywhere, so in some sense it is a case of balancing and anticipating the shifting public mood which is a political response, with health concerns.

    It is true the virus arrived in Alberta later than other places and there are places where things do not seem under control enough, so it might make sense to wait a bit longer to reopen certain things here. I suppose only hindsight will tell if our provincial government got the balance right.

    Reply
  15. Abs

    May 1st, 2020

    Now we’re all being invited to join the province’s tracking app, because how else can they keep the lid on this, or us, when we’re out of hibernation?

    No thanks. Trust issues.

    Reply
  16. Just Me

    May 1st, 2020

    Having managed to insult, embarrass, and anger pretty much every single constituency in Alberta, Kenney has decided to make peace with the one constituency he should do without: the Yellow Vest and #WEXIT pack of deplorables.

    Yes, even Andrew Scheer, after first flirting with this group, decided to run from them when it became clear — maybe the only time Scheer has shown any clarity — that they were representative of every single racist and xenophobic hate group in Canada. As for Ken-DOH!, he decided that he needs all the friends he can find. Yes, he maybe that desperate.

    So, falling in with their demands, Kenney has declared victory over the coronavirus; the pandemic is over and he has won. Release the hounds and let everything fall where it may.

    Kenney is a gambler, right to the end.

    Reply
    • Athabascan

      May 2nd, 2020

      It’s easy for kenney to be a gambler when he’s gambling with other people’s lives, and other people’s money.

      Reply
  17. David Grant

    May 2nd, 2020

    While the blunt weapon of social distancing and locking things down has been effective, it is not a long term strategy. While COVID 19 is serious so, too, is unemployment. The latter problem is linked to drug abuse, suicide, depression, and many ills. While we should put science at the forefront, we do need to reopen our economy. We need contact tracing and many other tools to ensure that we protect the truly vulnerable while letting the rest of us go about our business. I am perfectly happy to follow whatever regulations are set down to ensure safety.

    Reply
  18. jerrymacgp

    May 3rd, 2020

    I think it is too soon, frankly. There is too much we don’t yet know about SARS-CoC-2, the virus behind COVID-19.

    – does exposure to, or infection with, the virus confer any enduring immunity against reinvention that could contribute to the development of “herd immunity” once a sufficient proportion of the population has had it?
    – what proportion of the population not yet tested have had COVID-19, either with mild, unrecognized symptoms or completely asymptomatically? To date, of the roughly 149,000 people that have been tested for COVID-19, just under 4% have been positive; that means 96% of those tests were on people who either had signs or symptoms of an influenza-like illness (ILI) that wasn’t COVID, or met risk criteria for exposure but didn’t get it. But there has not been random screening of the population for truly asymptomatic carriers, as opposed to pre-symptomatic spreaders — people who spread the virus before they show symptoms but later go on to show them.

    My view has been that we need to see that famous “curve” not just flattening, which it has in most of the province, outside of some major clusters — Calgary, those two notorious meat packing plants in Southern Alberta, and McLennan-Falher-Girouxville in the North. Instead, we need to see case counts actually trending down, with a clear trajectory towards no new cases in the wider population, before opening up again. I fear what we’re seeing now will inevitably lead to a serious second wave that will make what we’ve just gone through seem like a non-event.

    I hope I’m wrong …

    Reply
  19. Comment

    May 3rd, 2020

    “But every day, if you’ve been paying attention to the government’s daily COVID-19 briefing, Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw has been pushed further to the side and now to the back by Mr. Kenney and other UCP politicians.”

    That’s exactly why I have STOPPED paying attention to the daily briefing.

    Reply

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