William Shatner as Captain James T. Kirk, way back in the day (Photo: StarTrek.com).

Space, the final frontier … they even think Jason Kenney and his United Conservative Party Government are an interstellar disaster at Starfleet Command! 

Well, in fairness to the Alberta premier and his out-of-its-depth government, William Shatner was never a real Starfleet commander, he just played one on TV. 

Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott (Photo: Creative Commons).

Still, it’s symbolic of the shambles the UCP is making of responding to the global pandemic that the guy who was James T. Kirk, captain of the Starship Enterprise to a generation that grew up on the original Star Trek series in the 1960s, came back to earth long enough yesterday to publicly roll his eyes at the way the Kenney Government is mishandling COVID-19. 

Responding to a Health Canada tweet about the federal government’s COVID Alert app – which is still being denied to Albertans by their government – the 89-year-old Canadian actor who now resides in the United States tweeted: 

“Now you just need to get Alberta on board I’ve heard that certain people have an issue with the app because they have their own app.🙄 I guess if you block off🚧 Alberta there (sic) app may work but people do travel. It’s Bizarre & dangerous, imho. What do I know? I’m just an actor.🤷🏼 

Mr. Shatner will be lucky if seldom-seen Alberta Inquiry Commissioner Steve Allan doesn’t add his name to the government’s roster of environmental actors slated for bad reviews and ask for three more months and another million dollars to investigate him. 

While the UCP’s refusal to take adequate COVID containment measures to keep its friends in the bar, restaurant and casino businesses happy may not yet be quite an interstellar challenge, word seems to be getting around. 

Video clips of Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott responding to a question in the Ontario Legislature at Queen’s Park in Toronto were all over the Internet yesterday. “You want to speak about who is in crisis, have you taken a look at Alberta where they’re doubling up patients in intensive care units? We’re not doing that in Ontario,” she heatedly said. (Emphasis added.)

In Canada’s northern territories, meanwhile, legislators were also taking note of the state of Alberta’s COVID response. 

North West Territories MLA Kevin O’Reilly (Photo: Twitter).

“People in the health field say the health system in Edmonton and Alberta is under significant strain and, if this continues, it’s going to collapse,” Yellowknife Frame Lake MLA Kevin O’Reilly told an MLA committee discussing the N.W.T.’s COVID-19 response on Tuesday. 

He asked, reasonably enough: “At what point do we stop sending people to Alberta for testing or whatever?” After all, he noted, COVID-19 is so bad in Alberta the province may soon “reach a critical limit where they may not be able to support their own residents,” let alone residents of the N.W.T. 

“I think we need to recognize this is a real possibility that could happen in weeks, because Alberta is not doing what it should be doing,” Mr. O’Reilly said. (Emphasis added.) 

Abroad, readers in the COVIDracked United Kingdom were alerted to the situation on the Canadian Prairies, especially Alberta, by the Guardian newspaper last week. 

“Alberta’s ability to respond to the pandemic has also been hindered by cuts to social services and health care by the province’s conservative government, which has faced a steep economic downturn in recent years,” the Guardian reported on Friday. 

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney at yesterday’s COVID-19 briefing (Photo: Chris Schwarz, Government of Alberta).

“The outbreak in the Prairies mirrors a similar trend in rural American states such as Wyoming and South Dakota, where the virus has overcrowded health care systems,” the Guardian’s story continued. “For months, the Alberta government has touted ‘personal responsibility’ as a key tool in its fight against the virus.” 

Being a serious newspaper, the Guardian dispensed with the eye roll emoji at that point.

Still, Alberta under Mr. Kenney is making itself known throughout the world if not quite yet throughout the cosmos, for its willingness to disastrously go where no Alberta government has gone before. 

Alberta talks to Ottawa and Red Cross about emergency tent hospitals 

The Alberta Government, meanwhile, has asked the Government of Canada and the Red Cross to supply it with emergency field hospitals to deal with its overstretched health care system as coronavirus infections keep multiplying, the CBC reports. 

Quoting “a federal source with direct knowledge of the situation,” the CBC said the province would likely receive four field hospitals, two from the federal Government and two from the Red Cross. 

Health Minister Tyler Shandro at yesterday’s COVID-19 briefing (Photo: Chris Schwarz, Government of Alberta).

It must be embarrassing for the government of the richest province in one of the richest countries in the world to have to reach out for help like this, which may explain why Premier Kenney and Health Minister Tyler Shandro tried not to give straight answers when reporters asked them about it during yesterday afternoon’s COVID-19 daily briefing.

Anyway, they were there to tout their plan for distributing coronavirus vaccines starting as early as January, and the virtual news conference format made it impossible for reporters to ask pointed follow-up questions.

While not denying Alberta’s been talking to Ottawa and the Red Cross about field hospitals, both men insisted it was just health officials planning for the worst case. Both also did their utmost not to mention the federal government. 

“This is conversations about a contingency plan,” Mr. Shandro insisted. “This is a conversation that was had with Red Cross to understand if that was even possible.” Never mind that he himself was scheduled to speak with his federal counterpart, Patty Hajdu, last night. 

Deputy Minister Paul Wynnyk during his heyday in uniform (Photo: Department of National defence).

Well, this kind of sly evasion is pretty much what we have come to expect from Mr. Shandro and his boss, as was the way Mr. Kenney opened the news conference by pandering to the UCP’s anti-vaxx base, vowing that Alberta would never, under any circumstances, ever make anyone have a vaccination they didn’t want for any reason. 

“We don’t live in a country where government can inject you with something against your will,” he said.

“In fact,” he promised, “Alberta’s government will soon amend the Public Health Act to remove that power of mandatory inoculation that has existed in law since 1910.” Well, that ought to settle down the UCP’s QAnon-inspired right fringe!

Senior civil servant Paul Wynnyk, deputy minister of municipal affairs and the premier’s favourite retired lieutenant general, has been deployed to lead the province’s “COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force,” Mr. Kenney said. He didn’t mention if leakers will now face military justice, but it does look as if most of us won’t get access to the vaccine until next summer. 

There are now 17,144 active cases in the province, 1,685 of them identified in the previous 24 hours. 

Join the Conversation


  1. I must thank you for another great blog. The unprepared ways of the UCP are reaching people far and wide. People in other parts of Canada, and the world are become aware of how the UCP hasn’t properly dealt with the Covid-19 crisis. The UCP is taking Alberta down really fast. This will be a lesson for other jurisdictions as how not to handle something like this.

  2. It just keeps getting worse for Kenney and the UCP, doesn’t it? Even people in the Conservative government of Ontario are openly criticising Alberta now, the NWT is trying to distance itself and to top all that, Captain Kirk is speaking out too! Well, the UCP will probably at least try to demonize him as an enemy of the state.

    Meanwhile back in Albertastan, the UCP is doing its best to keep us as many of us as possible under its bubble of disinformation and desperately trying to portray that things are still going ok. Basically they are saying don’t mind the Red Cross with those field hospitals soon popping up and the Feds having to support that – just contingency planning exercises, nothing to be alarmed about, really.

    It is so bad, the rest of the world is even noticing now. The Guardian, which I am sure has many other things in the world to focus on, has even taken notice of this out of control situation across the world. Perhaps it is particularly noticeable because it is considerably worse here than in the rest of Canada.

    I don’t think Kenney cares about the health situation that much; this seems fairly evident by how he has handled the situation. However it must be particularly embarrassing for him to hear criticism from Ontario PC’s and to have to now get medical assistance from the Feds. How quickly Alberta has devolved from one of the leading provinces in this country to something resembling a shambolic, failing state.

  3. The funny thing was that the words out of the premier’s mouth didn’t match what was stated on the slide show, more than once, and I wasn’t the only one who noticed. Next summer? The slide said September, so summerish, then? It was almost like a ventriloquist act. Perhaps the heavy-handed approach to rouge was appropriate for the occasion after all.

    This is showbiz, folks. It’s the Alberta circus with tents, and clowns, and a high-wire balancing act. It’s the worst show in the country, and probably the entire universe. Maybe that carny with the red cheeks should have closed with, “Live long and prosper,” but who would believe it? I give this show one deflated star out of five, much like the sad little Alberta Covid app.

  4. So why are Albertans still going to casinos, bars, and restaurants? It is one thing to advocate for an authoritarian response from government but why is one needed?
    Probably should have a closer look at what is in the vaccine before dismissing everyone who questions it as an anti-vaxxer. This isn’t the yearly flu shot or normal childhood vaccines that most have. But as usually you have attached a label, come one Dave that kind of thinking led Albertans to elect the UCP. It is one thing to make fun of the UCP base, we all know that is an easy target, but if you blindly take the opposite position of everything you may find yourself supporting some pretty bad stuff.

    1. “So why are Albertans still going to casinos, bars, and restaurants?” Well, my friend, it appears that people go to casinos, bars and restaurants because they are open. The opposite of open is closed.

      1. The opposite of up is down and the opposite of freedom is well I guess what we are headed towards. If you are in a vulnerable group and still going to these places, what are you thinking? Yes you are free to take risks but if you are 70 plus with couple of health issues come on use your head look at the numbers. Not only are you putting your life at risk but others as well. It shouldn’t take the government to close things down for people to make responsible decisions.

        1. Jim, were you as concerned about freedom when the Kenney government introduced its Critical Infrastructure Defence Act? Surely people can be expected to make responsible decisions about exercising their right to protest.

  5. David, I don’t think you understand the situation. Jason Kenney is creating business opportunities. Think of the T-shirts a creative entrepreneur can bring to market! I am visualizing a T-shirt that says:

    1. Jason Kenney – one more reason to be embarrassed to be Albertan

    2. Albertans are not nut jobs – we just vote for them

  6. “Alberta’s government will soon amend the Public Health Act to remove that power of mandatory inoculations that has existed in law since 1910.”
    Worry not Albertans. If you are concerned about protection against polio, diphtheria, whooping cough, lockjaw, hepatitis b, measles, flu, Covid 19 and you abhor government interference in your personal health, you have alternatives.
    webmd.com, “Homeopathy is a medical system based on the belief that the body can cure itself.”
    en.wikipedia.org, “Naturopathy or naturopathic medicine is a form of alternative medicine that employs an array of pseudoscientific practices branded as ‘natural’, ‘non-invasive’, or promoting ‘self-healing.'”

  7. I found it hilarious yesterday watching his ignorant supporters, in the Edmonton Journal blog, mostly our fellow seniors, hurling their sarcastic comments a Freeland for making an intelligent attempt at explaining what they have planned for the huge debt they are creating by helping all Canadians survive this mess. Thank god we have them trying to look after us.
    They obviously don’t realize that her mother, father, and one of her grandfathers were all lawyers. I knew the family well while living and working in Peace River in the 1970s and although her grandfather and her mother have since passed away I can’t see her father Don taking too kindly to these fools who are hurling insults at his daughter, and why should he? Would you?

    1. ALAN K.SPILLER: It’s pretty sad how these people continue to defend these phony Conservatives, and the very costly shenanigans they pull off. They try and blame Rachel Notley, or someone else for it. It is very sad.

  8. Its pretty indicative of the gravitas of the discussion here that the musings of aging TV personalities should be given headline billing and used as a indication of poor stewardship. That said, the situation is grave, we are in a pandemic. Resources are tight, the tax base has evaporated. However government union labour contracts are still being paid out like we are in the middle of the 2013 boom.

    Maybe the union leadership should suggest a discount so we can all be in this together?

    1. Do you mean we should just ignore what these phoney conservatives ,over the years , have done to us and watch them make the situation even worse by slashing taxes for their rich friends, allowing the oil industry to cheat land owners out their annual fees, force rural Albertans to replace and forgive the taxes the industry has ignored paying to their municipalities and watch them force us into a high costing health care system. No thanks the true conservative in my world aren’t that stupid.

      Where were you when economist Trevor Tombe of the U of C was pointing that had our previous governments continued to collect oil royalties at the Lougheed levels Albertans would have received an additional $575 billion. Add that to the $150 billion in taxes we lost that Ralph Klein’s daughter Angie was so mad at her father about, and the $260 billion we are being warned that it could cost us to clean up the orphan well mess that I was involved with prior to Klein changing the regulations to benefit his rich friends.
      Blaming unions for this mess , like this phoney conservative Liberal turned Reformer Jason Kenney is trying to do , doesn’t make you look very smart.

      Have you noticed that Alaska and Norway didn’t allow this to happen to them and our true conservative hero Peter Lougheed would never have allowed it to happen us.

        1. As my late father would say These fools vote for the word conservative and aren’t smart enough to look at the background of the guy hiding behind the name and I think he was right.
          My senior friends and I have realized that a large percentage of them are our fellow seniors and aren’t willing to admit that they made a mistake by supporting him. While we try to educate them they call us all sorts of names for not being as dumb as them. The young people are a lot more willing to listen to the facts and make an intelligent decision.

    2. Good one Brett. Go ahead and blame unions for what’s happening in Alberta.

      Last time anyone checked it wasn’t CPT Kirk or unions that were killing Albertans – it’s kenny’s facists.

      Nice try deflecting, but it won’t work.

    3. How about another more rational suggestion?

      Kenney, Shandro, and Toews immediately resign from public for shaming their respective offices with their utterly incompetent and plain bone-headed actions over the last year.

      In addition, Miranda Rosin must also resign for spreading rumours and conspiracies that fail to serve and harmed the public interest.

      Jason Nixon immediately becomes leader. He then declares a province-wide health emergency and makes a formal request to the federal government to take over and manage the provinces response to the pandemic. Ottawa effectively becomes the provincial government and assumes all powers in the province. PMJT appoints an interim premier for Alberta, effectively a governor, for a period time, for either one year or until the next election.

      This is the mature thing to do because the UCP has revealed itself to have been compromised by interests that are not willing to to serve the public interest…the O & G industry and alt-right conspiracy goons.

      At this point, the federal government convenes an inquiry into the actions of the UCP leading to criminal charges, convictions, and prison sentences for the entire UCP caucus.

      And watch the whistle blowers fall out of the trees.

    4. Well, start with accepting the $300 million in federal funds to top up the front line healthcare workers who have to go to work. Those are public workers. They deserve it.

      1. What Kenney is doing is what a rational response to the pandemic looks like. What is the alternative? Police in the streets going door to door. Documentation checks if you are out and about. I guess that is what NDPr’s dream of.

        As to the resources available, keep in mind, the previous NDP government continued to spend like it was 2013 for their 4 years in power. A rationalization of the government payroll at that time was required. But they didnt do it. We could sure use that 40 billion dollars now.

        And we wont mention that the shutdowns have destroyed whole industries. People in those industries are not receiving a pay cheque or a much smaller one. But government worker unions are still getting their full pay. So how is it that one sector has to bare the brunt and the other sector gets off scott free?

        That doesnt sound like we are all in this together.

        This disparity is the reason behind the disagreement on the pandemic response to affect.

        I get it. Just keep on sticking you head in the sand and cashing your cheques.

        1. Are you saying you weren’t smart enough to listen to the lawyers, accountants, oilmen , bankers and former MLAs from the Lougheed era who were proud that Notley was on the right track of gradually increasing taxes on the rich and planning on gradually increasing oil royalties back up the Lougheed levels to get us out of this financial mess. Can you prove she wouldn’t have succeeded.
          Are you proud that you call yourself a conservative while you support a well known Liberal, turned Reformer , who has never been a true conservative and you believe every lie he feeds you?
          Why don’t you get yourself educated by doing some reading and start with the following that were brought to my attention by oilmen and former true conservatives from the Lougheed era.
          “Royalties down 32% Billions in Federal Revenues lost” Make certain you read what Peter Lougheed said’
          “Misplaced Generosity Alberta Government to forgo $55 billion over next three years.
          “Alberta Missed a Chance To Mint A Province Of Oil Millionaires”
          The fact is they all prove that our phony conservative governments have helped the rich screw us out of our money. can you prove they don’t ?

          Before you go hurling your sarcastic comments at anyone else maybe you had better have the true facts to back them up like lawyers suggest. The lies Jason Kenney is spreading won’t cut it.

          1. I dont call myself a “Conservative”. Such tags are meaningless and only help parties separate up the population as a control.

            As to, “bankers and former MLAs from the Lougheed era” I could care less what a bunch of clowns think is possible. The Notly government tried to increase the royalty’s, they did a review on it which further hurt the industry.

            They found that Alberta was getting a good deal.

            I can agree with you that the Notley government was bad and untrustworthy, however I think we can believe them in this situation.

            And yes, the royalties you can obtain have changed since Lougheed. Stop living in the past.

        2. I am not sure I have encountered, in almost 40 years on line, a better example of a mendacious, smug troll than you so amusingly provide.

          You should be ashamed of yourself; unless they’re paying you, in which case shame won’t cut it.

  9. At this point, do any Albertans believe things would be this bad, if Rachel Notley was in charge?

    I am still dumbstruck that voters chose this closet troll over Notley.

    I’m having a hard time mustering empathy for suffering Albertans.

    1. I am not dumbstruck that the NDP lost the 2019 election. I am dumbstruck that their share of the popular vote declined markedly. *That* is the point that I gave up on Alberta. I am afraid I no longer expect to ever see a different outcome. What possible set of circumstances or experiences will cause that 65% of the electorate to ever change their minds?

  10. As the pandemic progresses exponentially through our province the pompous and petulant little pricktator who purloined the premiership purposefully procrastinates priorizing protections for people, preferring instead to promote his personal politically prejudiced policies. UCP: Unable to Control Pandemic.

  11. This morning, I had the good fortune to watch a CBC interview with a US doctor concerning public health emergencies. When the doctor was asked to comment on the situation in Canada, particularly in Alberta, he was asked about Kenney’s request for field hospitals. The doctors paused and then responded by saying, “It’s madness.”

    The doctor, who has experience in US military field hospitals, wanted to clarify that requests of this nature, for resources of this type, and not made freely or easily. In fact, they are very complicated affairs to begin with. Keeping in mind that the sheer scope of the US military’s medical resources are in a class by themselves, he mused about Canada’s ability to field such an effort in a timely manner. Even when the US military deploys its considerable resources in such a response, the millions of things that can go wrong, even with the US military, is difficult to contemplate.

    So…Alberta’s Angry Midget Premier wants PMJT to send the cavalry and save the day. Good luck with that.

    1. And, in case we had forgotten … it was the US Army, with its massive tent cities assembling new recruits from all over the country before sending them on to Europe, that actually spread the ‘Spanish Flu’ (actually a variant of the same pandemic strain of Influenza-A H1N1 we saw in 2009) in 1918: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanish_flu. So, I’m not so sanguine about calling upon the military to bail us out.

  12. shambolic, failing state….
    i don’t think we use the word kakistocracy often enough
    even the hard core are looking a little wild eyed around here
    but all will be forgiven
    because as bad as it will get
    they will swear if anything other than blue was in
    the result would be much worse
    any change for them is an admission they were wrong
    ain’t religious delusion a bitch

  13. Jayzuz Murphy!
    What have we tried? The ‘pray-for-a-bitumen-boom’ hypothesis…the ‘drive-dissidents-out-of-Alberta’ strategy …’Wexity- Wabbit’ theowy…but still nothing has explained Alberta’s infamy envy.

    Okay, then, how’s about [drum roll] this! Smug Pug-in-a-Jug Kenney and Tinker-Tyler Shamd’oh are making it real easy for Albertans: with a government so hands-off as to force public health officials to keep their own hands off the Covid decision file too, there’s never been a better time to wear a mask or just stay home. Brilliant!

  14. We are astounded at the total lack of concern for the most vulnerable people of our province…the elderly..people with pre-existing medical conditions..front line workers and specifically our nurses and doctors.

    It’s as if Jason Kenney and the UCP are deliberately trying to infect as many people as possible with this Covid virus.

    We have to deal with this bunch of bird brains for another 2 years..it could get awful bad long before then.

    We know that Jason”the Con-man”Kenney is not a native Albertan and we are wondering how many of the UCP brain-trust are ..as most of us have much more concern for our fellow Albertan’s health and welfare..

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