Alberta Politics
Dr. Deena Hinshaw at yesterday’s COVID-19 daily briefing (Photo: Screenshot of Alberta Government video).

Order saying Alberta schools won’t have to enforce social distancing lands like a sucker punch

Posted on September 01, 2020, 1:46 am
8 mins

Whoever it was in the Alberta Government that decided it would be a good idea to risk springing the news on the public that COVID-19 social distancing rules won’t apply to classrooms just hours before schools reopen was seriously mistaken.

The United Conservative Party government’s “near-normal” back-to-school scheme was already highly controversial, assailed as inadequate to the point of negligence by many teachers and parents.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

The Kenney Government’s army of “issues managers” and press secretaries have been hiding behind the skirts of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, insisting the September start had Dr. Deena Hinshaw’s imprimatur and was based on the best scientific evidence.

Anyone who suggested Dr. Hinshaw — inevitably referred to by UCP-friendly media as “Alberta’s top doctor” — was making political decisions to suit the government’s rapid-relaunch agenda was trolled as a tinfoil-hatted conspiracy theorist.

The carefully nurtured if never quite official understanding that two metres of space would be maintained between all students and staff members was reassuring to many who were uncomfortable with the relaunch plans but wanted to believe the government was acting in their best interest.

So Dr. Hinshaw’s initially unpublicized order Saturday that schools won’t have to enforce social distancing when students are seated in their desks landed with the force of a well aimed sucker punch when it appeared in news reports yesterday.

Said the order: “An operator of a school does not need to ensure that students, staff members, and visitors are able to maintain a minimum of 2 metres distance from every other person when a student, staff member or visitor is seated at a desk or table.”

The reaction was visceral, and frequently appalled — especially since it came too late for parents to reconsider their decision not to keep their children at home.

“I’m stunned by this reversal of physical distancing in classrooms by @CMOH_Alberta,” tweeted Alberta Teachers Association President Jason Schilling. “The Strategic Advisory Council, which provides advice to CMOH still suggests 2m., so what gives? This goes against everything we’ve been told for months.”

NDP Education Critic Sarah Hoffman (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

NDP Education Critic Sarah Hoffman, who was health minister in the Notley Government, accused the government of changing the rules because there is no way its just-like-every-other-school-year reopening scheme can happen with social distancing rules in place.

Other comments were stronger, and considerably less polite.

Dr. Hinshaw’s response at her week-nightly COVID-19 briefing yesterday that there had never actually been a three-metre rule and she just issued the order to make sure the instructions were clear, might be true — although, if so, it hardly looks good on her in the face of growing public discomfort with her decisions.

This is starting to sound like that news conference last spring at which she told Cargill meatpacking workers it was safe for them to return to the plant where one of North America’s largest COVID-19 outbreaks later took hold — except now there are fewer Albertans inclined to cut her the slack they once did.

Alberta Teachers Association President Jason Schilling (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

Regardless, it sure wasn’t public relations best practice. Justice must not only be done, it must be seen to be done, as the judge famously said, and whatever the intention was, the timing and the fact it wasn’t formally announced makes this order look like evidence of an intentional deception.

Dr. Hinshaw’s explanation that the order was supposed to be ready sooner, but got tied up in “processes and legal tools,” whatever that’s supposed to mean, didn’t help much either.

You know you’ve got it wrong when even the political columnists at UCP-friendly Postmedia start arguing the uproar is “an ominous sign of confusion,” as the Calgary Herald’s Don Braid did yesterday, and suggesting that Premier Jason Kenney is “getting dangerously close to the point where a leader isn’t just questioned by the public, but by people in his own government caucus.”

Mr. Braid is giving far too much credit to the UCP’s sheep-like MLAs, of course, and the Kenney Government could still get away with its sloppy school reopening if luck prevails and post-opening COVID-19 infection rates don’t jump.

The auguries may not be promising, however. Or perhaps that should be, the science isn’t.

British Columbia Premier John Horgan (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

Yesterday, the New York Times reported that as schools across the United States resume in-person classes, “data compiled by the American Academy of Pediatrics from the summer show that cases, hospitalizations and deaths from the coronavirus have increased at a faster rate in children and teenagers than among the general public.”

Young children seem to catch and transmit the virus less than adults and children of all ages tend not to experience severe complications from it,” the Times reported. But the story quoted Dr. Sean O’Leary of the American Academy of Pediatrics infectious diseases committee saying “substantial community spread in many parts of the United States corresponded with more infections among children.”

Whoever was responsible for this Alberta blunder has tarnished Dr. Hinshaw’s reputation with the public, and made it harder for the UCP’s issues managers to hide behind her pronouncements when defending Mr. Kenney’s school reopening policy.

On the other hand, at least Mr. Kenney isn’t the least popular provincial premier in Canada. That would be Newfound and Labrador’s Andrew Furey, according to a poll released by the Angus Reid Institute yesterday.

With his 42-per-cent approval rating, Mr. Kenney is still eight points above Mr. Furey, a Liberal.

Alberta’s premier, however, is less popular than all the other premiers, according to Angus Reid, and 27 points below the country’s most popular provincial premier, British Columbia’s John Horgan, a New Democrat.

And there’s still plenty of time in his mandate for him to go right to the bottom.

29 Comments to: Order saying Alberta schools won’t have to enforce social distancing lands like a sucker punch

  1. Political Ranger

    September 1st, 2020

    And we see the ‘typical’ level of incompetence here in Alberta. There has never been a demand for competent leadership in this province since sometime in the Klien era. Another socio-political characteristic that sticks, that is ground into the soul of your average Albertan, brought to you and celebrated by that most ignorant, most bellicose and most incompetent leader, the drunken, mentally deficient Ralph hisself.
    And on it continues.

    What passes as critical response to this nonsense, out here on the flats, is obedience; either you’re going to follow the decrees or you’re not. And it’s up to each parent, each teacher, each worker to understand and adhere to the rules until they or one of theirs gets sick. A cosmic crap-shoot. Just another body hurtling through a universe full of life-ending objects and holes.
    Do you feel lucky punk … well, do ya?

    I like reading this blog. It’s a nice piece of fiction, intelligent and erudite. It’s nice to take a imaginative break from the dark and deadly grind of life in Albaturda.

    Reply
    • karl roth

      September 3rd, 2020

      Albaturda !
      oWe, that hurts !

      made me laugh a change from alberd’uh

      enjoy your comments on this blog

      Reply
  2. Bob Raynard

    September 1st, 2020

    For Sale:

    One ‘What Would Dr. Hinshaw Do?’ T-shirt. Size XL. Offers?

    Reply
  3. Abs

    September 1st, 2020

    “Denmark,” they said, until the people found out that classes in Denmark have been capped at 15 students.

    “Scotland,” she said, until the people found out that Scotland reported more than 21,000 student absences on one day alone, due to Covid-19 reasons. This is over and above all the other absences for other reasons. Scotland is now looking at taking further steps to control the spread of COVID-19 in schools. This was a failed re-entry, if we are being blunt.

    So now the people are considering if this quiet Saturday announcement is duplicity intended to stab parents in the back after their decision about online vs. in-person schooling was made and cannot be reversed, or if it’s duplicity intended to stab teachers in the back. Remember their collective agreement expired on Monday, August 31. This last-minute order, released without publicity, left little time for teachers organize job action in protest of unsafe working conditions. Besides, the working conditions have been declared safe now by Dr. Hinshaw. Forget about that pediatric specialist at the U. Of A. It’s moot.

    If it looks like deus ex machina to prevent job action, it probably is, but we must look further up to the hand of God himself, or Jason Kenney, as we call him here in Alberta. Teachers are not meat workers, as he is probably about to discover, but sitting alone in his chambers on Saturday morning, he probably got an inkling of what those uppity teachers in Ontario were up to.

    https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/lab-our-complaint-union-ontario-schools-1.5706429

    Bonus points for increasing the workload and stress of doctors if this thing takes off in schools. Machiavelli himself couldn’t have reached a pinnacle of achievement such as this. Much glory!

    Reply
  4. Bret Larson

    September 1st, 2020

    Welcome to the new normal. Yes, there is a pandemic right now. Yes there are risks with every activity. Im pretty sure the new order was to avoid needless complaints about not being able to social distance all of the time.

    As to, “hospitalizations and deaths from the coronavirus have increased at a faster rate in children and teenagers than among the general public”

    Going from 1 to 1.01 matches your statement. Looking at the data set in the NY times its definitely not clear, knowing the NY times, its probably not clear to them either as they are biased.

    Realistically, its not like we can build new schools in a month.

    Seems to me unless we want to abolish the current school system, then restarting is the only other option.

    Reply
  5. jerrymacgp

    September 1st, 2020

    I was indeed dismayed to read about this pronouncement from the CMOH, but not really surprised. Schools simply aren’t big enough to truly distance every student in every classroom two metres apart, without leaving a huge proportion of them standing outside in the elements when their classrooms are full. Dr Hinshaw is taking a lot of flack, with many demanding she should have stepped down rather than issue this edict. But that ignores two facts:
    – we can not know what pressures Dr Hinshaw faces in her personal and family life that tie her to her current career path; she may not be free to just quit even on principle;
    – those of us with longer memories remember a previous MOH for a regional health authority in southern Alberta, who was fired after making public statements endorsing a policy position contrary to the received wisdom of the then-PC government — here I am referring to Dr David Swann, who later went on to become Alberta Liberal Party leader & an MLA for a Calgary riding. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Swann

    In addition, in our democratic system of governance, it is our elected officials who are supposed to be accountable to the public for public policy, not the appointed public servants — like Dr Hinshaw — who advise them. I have no doubt that she was only doing what she was told.

    Reply
  6. Kang

    September 1st, 2020

    Dr. Hinshaw answers directly to the:

    “Emergency Management Cabinet Committee” chaired by Jason Kenney.

    It certainly looks like the change in school distancing requirements is a political decision rather than a medical decision. If it turns out badly, there is the Cabinet committee ultimately responsible.

    Wasn’t Dr. David Swann fired as a medical officer by the PCs for making a rather anodyne observation that addressing human caused pollution would be good for public health? Who really expected Kenney and the UCP to be better?
    If anyone thinks Alberta has an independent or even arms-length regulatory system, they should not be allowed outside alone at night.

    Reply
    • Anonymous

      September 6th, 2020

      KANG: You summed up things pretty nicely. The kicker is that there have already been students who tested positive for Covid. It’s going to be pretty tough for the UCP to escape the mess they have created. Dr. David Swann was fired for telling the truth, and the Alberta PCs were responsible for that. Democracy in Alberta is pretty much non existent. Look at the controversies surrounding the UCP sweeping into power. I thought that Alberta’s chief medical officer was supposed to be independent. That’s not the case anymore, thanks to the UCP.

      Reply
  7. Bill Malcolm

    September 1st, 2020

    What “visitors” to a school? None (meaning parents) are to be allowed inside schools in NS, for obvious reasons. No assemblies in gyms, libraries or cafeterias.

    These provincial chief public health officers are supposed to be conferencing with each other to get their stories straight — they surely were back in April, but the school issue seems to have divided the lot of them, not helped by eight Con provincial governments looking over the shoulders. So now every province is different and the talking media vacuum-heads out of Toronto natter on about school re-openings as if the whole country is abiding by Ontario rules.

    Which ain’t the case.

    Not that people living in the GTA can imagine what the rest of the the country is like anyway. The trouble is, we have people quaking in their boots here in mostly Covid-free NS with fears that have nothing to do with the reality of our situation. Read our rules and listen to our Chief PHO’s press conferences and explanations? Too much trouble for the teachers, parents and unions – I mean who has the time? /sarcasm. That’s the silliness we labour under here — the actual rules and procedures our Chief PHO/Dept Education has come up with are not being listened to or discussed. I see another progressive blogger says the exact same ridiculousness is taking place in Newfoundland and Labrador. Call it mind transference of the masses to another place, fed by constant GTA prognostications and the vacuousness of social media. Time to show you as a citizen cared was back in the Spring when big retailers/supermarkets made it “optional” for their staff to wear PPE. Nobody did, and the customers followed suit.

    However, generally, why on earth as a society we have high school students wandering hallways at all between classes is beyond me. Change the teachers instead and reduce the traffic. The teacher’s desk and chair and equipment is a lot easier to wipe down than a multitude of student desks. Allowing students to wander about and sit at others’ desks in other classrooms at the end of every period, while possibly trailing virus along the way is just plain stupid. It was standard procedure way back in the 1950s in the schools in England to change teachers, before I came to Canada as an immigrant at age 12 to witness pure nonsense. Having students change rooms seemed stupid to me then, and seems totally insane to me now. Wakey, wakey folks. You have brains. Use them.

    As for Albertans: Well, it sucks to be you. With kenney as dictator and Henshaw about as useful as an apparent toadie to his uneducated whims, you lot are in a right pickle. The rugged UCP individualist of myth and legend actually is being forced to be nothing but an obsequious conformist rule-follower to kenney’s tunes, while claiming the opposite is the case and that it’s all wondrous. It’s pretty obvious kenney doesn’t give a sh!t about anybody but himself and his pie-in-the-sky right wing religious, financial, racial and non-environmental notions plus ancient social mores. It’s pretty near a fact-free existence he leads while he ushers you lot down the garden path to nirvana.

    Reply
    • jerrymacgp

      September 3rd, 2020

      Mr Malcolm: “ …why … we have high school students wandering hallways at all between classes is beyond me”. Well, Sir, while it’s been a long time since I was in high school — the 1970s, in fact — my kids graduated in this century, so my memories of high school are more recent than my tenure there.

      The reason this is done is because different students have different streams and paths through their educational journey. High school students have class schedules that accommodate different tiers of learning, options, and so on, somewhat like the system in post-secondary. So, for example, in Grade 11, Marie might start her day in home room, then go on to Pure Math 20, then English 20, then CALM (Career & Life Management), while her classmate Jonny might be in Applied Math 20, which isn’t until after lunch, so he might start his day after home room in Social Studies or Drama; maybe he did CALM in Gr. 10, or plans to do it in Gr. 12. The entire school day is mix & match like that, so moving students around is far more efficient.

      Of course, none of this was designed in or for a pandemic.

      Reply
    • Bob Raynard

      September 4th, 2020

      Further to Jerry’s totally accurate comment, at least some classes are specialized, like science labs, so students have to go there, at least. When I was teaching there were times I had to move from classroom to classroom, and I hated it. I could usually remember everything I needed to teach a class, but I couldn’t be prepared for the unanticipated questions that needed something back in my classroom to explain. Teachers moving can be done, and during a pandemic perhaps should be done in elementary and junior high, but it is not the most effective way to run a school.

      Reply
  8. tom in ontario

    September 1st, 2020

    “…especially since it came too late for parents to reconsider their decision not to keep their children at home.”
    As a parent and former teacher, it’s never too late to keep children at home in times like these. What’s Jason Kenney going to do, send the cops after parents who refuse to expose their children to unsafe classrooms in the midst of a pandemic?
    Any parent with the least bit of hesitancy should keep their kids at home. This is not the sniffle-cough season of times past, these days are unprecedented. Tell the premier and his chief medical officer of health or whatever she wants to call herself to do something useful, like cleaning up an abandoned oil well.

    Reply
  9. Anonymous

    September 1st, 2020

    I must thank you for another well written blog. Very in-depth, and very informative. Basically, Dr. Deena Hinshaw’s powers have been reduced by the UCP. Dr. Deena Hinshaw is like a marianett, and the UCP are pulling the strings. What is going to happen is that covid cases will go up even further in Alberta. Schools will be in trouble. The UCP will find any excuses they can, and will blame Dr. Deena Hinshaw, or will find some other scapegoat. Recently, another meat packing plant in Alberta has had an outbreak of covid amongst its workers. The UCP hasn’t ordered the plant to be closed. It’s back to the same old situation again.

    Reply
  10. Scotty on Denman

    September 1st, 2020

    It’s been observed that Donald tRump’s handling of the Covid pandemic is virtually a manual on what not to do. Even as proof manifests daily in mounting sickness and death in one of the world’s worst-hit jurisdictions, his country continues to be significantly diminished as a result. With a grim prognosis for the upcoming winter, the presidunce persists making proclamations ranging between begrudging recognition of the pandemic, at very best—which is an improvement of sorts over his initial dismissal of the virus altogether—and rambling bafflegab of confusing or incendiary baloney, scattershot scapegoating and arrogant facetiousness, at worst.

    This pandemic, like all others, requires but one, basic policy for every kind of people, nation and government the whole world over— that is, to mitigate person-to-person contact-spread of the virus until it’s under control when, hopefully, effective vaccines are discovered. Like a downtown building on fire, what to do is not in question, but it’s almost as if the Orange-Goo-Tan apeman in the Whitehouse needs to be told the fire has to be put out before it spreads to other buildings. Instead he acts as if there is no fire or, if there is one, it will go out by itself or, if it doesn’t, it’s a hoax perpetrated by people trying to make him look bad and, if the whole downtown burns down it’s proof of what a good job he’s done all along. In other words, he doesn’t really care about how much of the town burns down or who gets hurt by it—even, curiously, if his own, ostensible supporters are singed or ruined.

    Given that the pandemic policy needs public compliance and cooperation, it can only be harder to achieve if people don’t trust authorities, and therefore a mistake to squander this most-valuable of pandemic-fighting assets. For most countries, the initial reluctance to implement strict quarantines rather more reflected the trust relationships between governments and their constituents prevailing at the time of the outbreak than an indicator that any of these nations mistook the matter of public trust as something unimportant. For most countries, that probationary period lasted only until strategic and economic concerns were somewhat relieved by the fact that each and every other country was visibly being affected more or less the same by the pandemic—no matter how much spin their respective leaders put on it—and ‘pole-position’ wouldn’t be lost. And as the surge of government subsidy for individuals and businesses has been accepted as economically laudable by citizens and corporations alike, the higher priority has always been to preclude social unrest or open conflict that economic collapse could foment because, of course, when all trust becomes so uncertain, all hope of containing the virus—that is, of getting the one-and-only pandemic policy done—is lost domestically, and a country’s strategic and economic relationship with the rest of the world is dangerously diminished. And people die of Covid all the while.

    Initial official hesitance was manifest in other interesting ways, too: the wearing of masks soon became controversial even though it’s an epidemiological no-brainer. Grant that many jurisdictions which found themselves short of manufactured masks at first —and therefore found it impolitic to recommend wearing them too definitively— probably also took human behaviour into careful consideration: that if the public took to wearing masks too quickly—that is, if they were too readily available—, people might become complacent about the pandemic and neglect to observe the other necessary protocols of hygiene and distancing, or object to shut-downs because, presumably, masks make everything better again. Unfortunately controversy—a reliable human trait—stirred up considerable confusion about masks in every possible way—what kind to wear, when or if it was necessary, and even to the point that some claimed masks actually increase risk of getting infected. As confusion was sorted out so most people now understand mask wearing isn’t so mysterious as initial panic and fear made out, valuable lessons were learned about getting basic policy—like wearing masks—done politically, and how much more difficult the politics is when public trust has been diminished. Fortunately the confusion and mistrust about masks has been overcome in most places, more quickly in jurisdictions where other metrics of public trust—like authorities sharing up-to-date information citizens want to have, and showing that whatever deficiencies might have existed initially are being addressed as quickly as possible. This is politics: how policy gets done and public trust is maintained to purchase public cooperation. In the USA, unlike most countries, the mask issue became almost completely dominated by partisanship—at least for some tRump supporters who proudly flout Covid protocols as a badge of loyalty their puppet master jerks up and down at will.

    Some believe tRump’s biggest mistake was to jump the shark on Covid, thereby wrecking the single best—really the only recommendation he could have had going into the election—the booming economy hitherto Covid. But tRump’s tactical manoeuvring to garner applause being his sole and abiding strategy rather suggests it’s all par for his course. Instead of turning the pandemic to his advantage like his one-time acolyte, the D’ohFo premier of Ontario who’s gone from tRumpesque low approval ratings, pre-Covid, to the second-most popular premier in Canada because he shows a modicum of sincere sympathy with his citizens’ Covid ordeals, the Spray-Glo Man-Baby has simply doubled down on his consistent modus operandi: to sew mistrust among his followers and enemies alike and, presumably, to scam his way out of the pile of legal trouble that probably awaits him if he loses the immunity of his office. It’s gallingly appalling and almost absurdly unethical that, when 6 million Americans have been infected and 183,000 have died because of Covid, the presidunce would “play politics” with the pandemic and his citizens’ lives.

    But of course tRump isn’t doing much politics-playing—that is, isn’t getting the one-and-only possible policy done; rather he is playing partisanship, and not just his own party’s, but amongst all Americans. It doesn’t matter to him what the Covid policy is and so, for him and other political ignoramuses, he has found a constituency who proclaim their partisanship and signal this supposed virtue to each other by not cooperating with Covid protocols, no policies or politics really necessary: tRump has sewed distrust in government since he began his presidential run in 2015, in fact the “anti-politician” has been his calling card forever. He said he invented the term “Fake News”, but always told his followers not to believe their own eyes. He has assiduously made citizens suspicious of each other and revised for his base the notion that trust lies only with him and is only demonstrable by unquestioned acceptance of whatever absurdity his puerile mind can come up with at any moment of rote repetition and preposterous, nose-thumbing bombast. But tRump is easily the most predictable, transparent presidunce there ever was, as everyone whose watched him trample every ethical line in the sand should know. As Kellyanne Conway admitted just after her resignation from the tRump campaign team: he thrives on chaos, and his successful substitution of partisanship for policy and politics, and sycophantic chauvinism for trust tends to confirm her aphorism. With so much at stake for himself, his country and the world, we can trust him to be more like how we’ve always known him to be than ever before—or, as he would say, like nobody ever believed possible.

    But I still don’t quite get what kind of payoff the UCP premier expects by making light of the pandemic, a policy faux-pas that’s already besmirched the reputation of the Chief Medical Officer with respect the meat-packing-plant tragedy—and appears set to do so again with respect school openings with their suddenly-announced lack of basic Covid distancing. The K-Boy doesn’t have to meet his political maker for another three years, yet his political handling of Covid appears to suffer from an overdose of partisanship as much as his misbegotten “policies” on climate change and bitumen development—where, coincidentally, his politics have sunk his popularity considerably since being elected with over 60% approval just last year. I kinda though he and D’ohFo had a bromantic thing going. Why then does the K-Boy seem to emulate tRump, the presidunce who appears to be heading towards an electoral thrashing in two months rather than D’ohFo who couldn’t have been elected dog-catcher last February but now ranks right up there with Canada’s most popular premier, John Horgan of good old socialist BC?

    Is consistency all we can trust about Jason KeKovid Kenney?

    Reply
  11. karl roth

    September 1st, 2020

    no surprises here, just the Kenney/UCP mob demonstrating their cack-handed ineptness

    Reply
  12. Murphy

    September 1st, 2020

    Prayer being the last refuge of a scoundrel, and the US propaganda machine the last refuge of a Covidian:
    “In comparison, Canada had 302 reported deaths last season”
    https://www.cbc.ca/news/health/flu-deaths-us-80000-last-winter-1.4839917

    Now was it masks, social distancing, or closing the schools that resulted in 4% of the US death rate in Canada for influenza in 2018? So irritating to have to ponder such trivial matters! Looking forward to having my seven-year-old in a mask all day tomorrow despite a total lack of scientific evidence to support such mandated ritual. Toronto Sick Kids says it’s a really bad idea, but it’s a price we’ll gladly pay to keep the fantasy alive.
    Meanwhile back on the ranch, 3 ICU admissions ever for Covid under age 20 in Alberta, at least one of whom already had mononucleosis, but no need to stop trembling.

    Reply
  13. margaret beresford

    September 1st, 2020

    Pitiful, but par for the course under the UCP. Try less and see if it flies, then squeal blue murder and blame everyone else for quoting correctly–but too soon.
    Covid-19, has far too many opinions attached to it without proper delving into and comparing what’s – what. Instead, bad with the almost good, more than overloads the right things learned and working over time.. Too bad, because pro-corporate-politicians like Kenney can no longer take or dump costs –all on taxpayers.

    We have had it with his sort, who cut corners and then blame everyone or anyone.

    Hope he has a monster of a trick up his sleeve to pay –for not making tar sands investors, like the Koch bros paying
    the cost to reclaimed tar sand land, as per their signed agreements….
    .Who is going to pay 260 plus billion to clean up Harper/Kenney/O’Toole’s mess, because it was on the conservative’s-watch-and all turned their backs and did ‘nothing’ for Alberta and those (voters) he has been lying to..

    Reply
  14. Just Me

    September 1st, 2020

    There can be no doubt now…

    Either, Dr. Hinshaw is being held hostage by Kenney.

    Or, she’s always had feet of clay and is a born liar. (aka Jason Kenney)

    In any case, while other provinces are acting like adults and trying to take a reasoned approach to their respective pandemic affairs, Alberta is being to look more and more like a Red State.

    I’m just waiting for Kenney to announce that he was Qanon all along.

    Reply
  15. Hammer

    September 2nd, 2020

    My faith in the entire rentry process is waning. Up until this past weekend I believed that Dr. Hinshaw was somewhat,but, not totally independent from the clutches of the UCP. But after this past weekends announcement it is now my position that she has gone to the other side and given in. There is no way she sent that bulletin out on her own, rather it was some UCP minion on behalf of the minister that pushed it out using her as the front person.
    On another interesting note, who would have ever thought that the man in the blue pickup who promised jobs and prosperity would be sliding south in popularity. Unfortunately he could have a 30% approval rating and they will still vote him in. You reap what you sow!

    Reply
  16. Dave

    September 2nd, 2020

    I don’t think Dr. Hinshaw was quite intending for things to go the way they did. I am going to chalk some of this up to political naivite.

    I would not be surprised someone on Kenney’s team made sure the “legal review” was not done before Friday afternoon or sonething like that. Hinshaw has been played and perhaps she even realizes it now, but I doubt there is an e-mail or document she can point at to show that, so she takes one for the team like a good civil servant sometimes does. I suppose she stiil has a bit more credibility to spare at this point than Premier Cover His Tracks Well does.

    Mr. Braid who has seemed mild about Kenney for a long while seems to have been roused, that is probably not a good sign for Kenney and the UCP. Yesterday I heard someone on the street going on a tirade about Truduea, just another day in Alberta i thought … then, the guy started on much the same about Kenney. The guy didn’t seem like a kook, but just someone frustrated about how our governments are handling COVID.

    I suspect Mr. Braid still gets out or talks to real people from time to time and has noticed the wind is blowing differently than a year or so ago. The poll of premier popularity certainly confirms this and it is quite possible the balance is tipping so Kenney is no longer an asset to the UCP and will soon be a liability. I too believe it is unlikely the UCP will turn on him. Kenney tends to put young, politically inexperienced people in key positions, who can probably be counted to be loyal to him to the end. However, of course it is not the UCP caucus who has the final say on who is Premier, and as that poll indicates there are storm clouds ahead for Kenney.

    Reply
  17. Reynold Reimer

    September 2nd, 2020

    When the infection rates jump we must remind Albertans that Kenney deserves the credit. When the next provincial election rolls around we must remind Albertans of all of Kenney’s wrong doings.

    Reply
  18. Jim

    September 2nd, 2020

    The good doctor is aware that she will be thrown under the bus when or if the school opening goes bad right?

    Reply
  19. Ingamarie

    September 2nd, 2020

    Thanks for this cogent summary of school opening under the UCP. Considering the rising number of cases already being reported in Alberta…..we may be working to become the jurisdiction that demonstrates the very real consequences of over loading classrooms. Does anyone doubt that Kenny’s decision to treat school opening as a non-issue, refuse any substantive money to help ensure safety, and change the rules at the last minute……….has everything to do with the reality of large class size??

    Good education for all our kids demanded we fix that years ago………..but in Alberta, we penny pinch on people and spend like sultans on energy fantasies………carbon capture and storage a few years ago, the transmountain and keystone XL pipelines recently, small nuclear into the nebulous future.

    In Alberta, we warehouse our children, unless they go to private schools……..those our government supports handsomely. Just last night Kenny informed the public that we can expect outbreaks in our public schools…but that is no reason not to send the kiddies back so parents can do the essential work the economy actually depends on.

    As a grandmother, I’m wondering about class action lawsuits if the consequences prove fatal for enough of us….imagine he’s getting ready to pass some laws making that option illegal. But yes….we voted for this smart operator.

    Reply
  20. Bret Larson

    September 3rd, 2020

    Hmm, kids may get covid from going to school? Kids may also may not be prepared for adult life by not going to school.

    The above has nothing to do with whos controls the legislature.

    That said, people not going to school probably benefits the progressive cause.

    As the old saying goes, give a person a fish and they eat for a day. Teach a person to fish and they dont need your handouts any longer.

    Reply
    • Abs

      September 4th, 2020

      But don’t fish downstream from Fort Mac. Or toss it back in if you do.

      Reply
    • Crisiinsk

      September 6th, 2020

      You assume they are allowed to eat, and whose “property” is the fish? Handouts are a product of poverty, unless you wish to apply the complete neoliberal final solution.

      Reply
      • Bret Larson

        September 8th, 2020

        Im just describing what I think of the political set “caring” for the electorate by providing them stuff when they should be providing opportunity.

        Reply

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