The Government of Canada’s tally of COVID-19 cases per 100,000 population as of yesterday (Image: Screenshot of Government of Canada website).

Pandemic cases in Alberta are breaking records. 

CBC reporter Robson Fletcher’s daily accounting of the latest Alberta Health Services estimates indicated that probable and confirmed new cases of COVID-19 reached 1,888 yesterday – surpassing the previous single-day record, set on Dec. 4 during the second wave, of 1,874. 

CBC reporter Robson Fletcher’s accounting of confirmed and probable new cases of COVID-19 in Alberta as of yesterday (Image: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation).

Yesterday’s official tally, which you may have seen on the Alberta Government’s website, had the number at 1,839 new cases.

By the time the dust has settled today, we will almost certainly also have broken the previous record of 20,976 active cases set on Dec. 13. 

Yesterday’s official active-case numbers, based on the count of cases on Tuesday, put us at 20,938, a jump of 200 from the day before.

The seven-day rate of active cases per 100,000 people in Alberta continues by far to be the highest in Canada – 259 per 100,000, compared with 180 per capita in Ontario, the second-highest jurisdiction – according to the Government of Canada figures published yesterday.

Sixty-three per cent of Alberta’s cases are said to be caused by what the health care professionals blandly call variants of concern. They’re of concern because they’re more infectious, and possibly more deadly. 

You’d have to be the premier of Alberta or a member of his United Conservative Party Caucus not to think this is a catastrophe. If you want to set records as a province, these really aren’t the kind you want to break.

But in the middle of a third wave worse than the first two, which is right now killing about seven Albertans every day, the attitude of our government seems to be, oh, ho-hum, not much we can do about that. Shrug. 

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney (Photo: Alberta Newsroom/Flickr).

Even Ontario, also run by Conservatives and facing a similar situation, is taking it more seriously. 

Premier Jason Kenney and his caucus – about a quarter of whom are in open rebellion because they think the weak COVID restrictions their government has put in place are too strict – act as they have all along. They are blasé at best, with the rebellious quarter – too big to be described as a lunatic fringe – demanding an end to all restrictions, arguing that provincial masking and other requirements should be optional, and putting all our eggs in the vaccination basket while encouraging Albertans to feel free to refuse the vaccine. 

Meanwhile, the CBC got wind yesterday of a memorandum from Alberta Health Services to critical care managers telling them the “protocol” for picking who lives and who dies when there’s no space left in the province’s Intensive Care Units. Front-line employees will be briefed on it this week, which is almost over, suggesting there is some urgency to the matter.

But don’t worry, AHS spokesperson Kerry Williamson told the CBC yesterday, there is no plan to activate the protocol just yet. 

There was no daily COVID-19 briefing yesterday, so the premier and the chief medical officer of health didn’t have to try to explain this deadly gong show to reporters. You can assume that Premier Kenney’s strategic communications brain trust was burning the midnight oil last night figuring out what to say. 

Up to now there’s always been an excuse, or some place to point to that seemed to be doing a little worse. But we are circling the drain now, excuse-wise. There’s really nowhere to look except right at Mr. Kenney, who calls the UCP’s shots. 

We were lucky in the first wave. It was just dumb luck, it turns out, not good management. Our leaders didn’t learn any lessons. 

We weren’t so lucky in the second, but they didn’t seem to learn any lessons from that either.

Now here we are. 

On Tuesday, Globe and Mail Western Canada political columnist Gary Mason mused wonderingly about the caucus rebels’ letter to Mr. Kenney complaining about the few measures he took to control the virus. Mr. Mason asked: “How much of a selfish and petty lout do you have to be to put your name to such a missive?” 

Well, he’s not from around here, obviously. 

The columnist concluded, “If you ever needed evidence that Quebec isn’t the only distinct society in Canada, this may be it.” Can’t argue with that! Distinctly idiotic. Distinctly heartless.

Also yesterday, the so-called Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, run by Mr. Kenney’s long-time friend John Carpay, published a news release entitled “Ten reasons to be more afraid of a car crash than Covid.” 

Passing this bit of COVID-conspiracy propaganda off as an analysis for its Charter case against pandemic restrictions, the legal advocacy organization associated with such social conservative causes as keeping Gay-Straight Alliances out of schools, attributed concern about the pandemic to “health bureaucrats” and “strangely incurious news media.”

The JCCF, which is very concerned about the health of the unborn, didn’t seem too concerned in this statement about the fate if the elderly and vulnerable. There can be little doubt Mr. Carpay has influenced the views of Mr. Kenney, who once compared his lawyer friend to American civil rights hero Rosa Parks.

But don’t worry, Albertans, the UCP is all over the threat of critical messages chalked in sidewalks in front of UCP constituency offices. 

Join the Conversation


  1. I think the UCP is way over their heads. It’s not going to get any better, at anytime soon. Alberta is making headlines, and for the wrong reasons. Spring plans are wilted, it will be the summer without love, the autumn of people’s madness, and the winter of discontent. 2021 will be a write-off. The UCP has utterly failed on looking after the Covid-19 pandemic in Alberta. I really don’t see 2022 being any better. The UCP has failed Albertans in so many ways.

  2. “Ten reasons to be more afraid of a car crash than Covid.”

    In ordinary times, this slur against the combustion engine would be regarded as anti-O&G in Canada’s most distinct society.

  3. At this point, does any Albertan believe we would be worse off with Rachel Notley in charge?

    Will Alberta survive long enough to vote kenney and his gang of thieves out in two years? I’m not convinced we have the luxury of waiting two years. Only a general strike will force him out. All we need is 10-14 days to put an end to kenny’s sociopathic policies.

    1. Athabascan, you and I definitely agree politically, but I have had a scary thought with regards to an NDP government right now.

      During the NDP government, right wing media, whose goal was to enrage rather than inform, put out a lot of misleading ideas out there. I do shudder to think of how much more they would have riled up their Covidiot base if Rachel Notley imposed even the same restrictions Jason Kenney has. It would be interesting to see how many more UCP MLAs would dog whistle their base to defy the restrictions. With the luxury of not being responsible for consequences, I can certainly imagine Jason Kenney leading the ‘open it up’ crowd.

  4. I think it’s entirely possible that Jason Kenney, who isn’t known for his powers of original thought, is simply following the lead of Boris Johnson who allegedly stated that he would rather see “bodies piled high in the thousands” than impose another lockdown in the UK. Mr. Johnson, of course, denies having said this, but then what politician would lay claim to a statement like that? Not even Jason Kenney, who is also not known for his mighty intellect, is that stupid. Still, to paraphrase an old saying, inaction speaks louder than words, so Kenney doesn’t have to actually tell us what his philosophy is. It’s there for us to see for ourselves.

  5. Something we don’t see mentioned it seems, is the number of deaths per 100,000 population, so I did a bit of a number crunching exercise the other day. Using the Covid deaths presented on the Government of Canada website David provided the link to, and population of each province from Wikipedia, I calculated them myself. Wikipedia’s population data is from the 2016 census, so there is a bit of error there, but the results are interesting.

    Alberta’s death per 100,000 rate is 51 people, which at first glance seems to be in the middle of the pack. Higher than Alberta are Quebec, with a whopping 133, Manitoba with 75 and Ontario with 59. BC has 32 and Saskatchewan 43; every other jurisdiction was in the single digits except Nunavit, with 11.

    While a first glance appears to put Alberta in the middle of the pack, it is important to remember that in the first wave Covid wreaked havoc in long term care facilities in Quebec and Ontario, to the point that they called in the military to help. I also recall Manitoba having a real problem in the first wave, until Brian Pallister smartened up. It would be interesting to see what the death rates for the provinces has been since the first wave.

  6. There are no consequences for politicians who willfully and negligently fail to do their duty.

    Why would anyone in the UCP government at at all concerned about consequences for failing to protect and actively endangering the lives of Albertans (and by extension all Canadians)? As a society we have seen no consequences for people who “fail big” — environmental disasters from oil spills? No consequences for the CEOs and people who made decisions leading to them. Mass death in long term care homes? No consequences for people who chose to cut staffing and cut costs instead of following proper safety practices.

    So is it any wonder that Canadian politicians in Alberta but also in other provinces (look at Saskatchewan for instance) are bowing to the selfish and ill-informed demands of businesses to limit restrictions so they can parasite off the work of their under-paid employees? Just think about how campaign contributions and appointments to board after “public service” positions work… something looks mighty odd there.

  7. These numbers speak for themselves.

    It is what happens when a Government places the interests of it’s UCP party members and supporters above the health and welfare of Albertans.


  8. We have a few Covid doubters out here, too —uh—let’s just call them diminishers (not quite denying that it exists, just a bit more deistic about it all). One particularly persistent crusading neighbour made a stock quip on our local FB bulletin board that he was more likely to be killed by a car accident than by Covid. A young former Islander (whose mother lives two doors from me—he keeps a close eye on the always lively —and often mortifying— debates goes on around here on her behalf: a very good son) challenged the quip with quick reference to real stats. Nope: the risk of catching of Covid is actually higher than, on average in BC, becoming an MVA casualty, as it turns out.

    Well, our friendly freedom-fighter clarified, he really meant all MVA casualties, not fatalities. The son parried again with references to refute.

    Well, then, the defender puffed, he meant only MVAs on the Big Island of Vancouver. Again handily refuted. And another round or two of correspondence led to headlong retreat and, finally, silence.

    But not before a master of sarcasm narrowed it down to a quintessentially picked cherry stone: Oh, you mean, among the subset of 55 year-old conspiracy theorists living on a low-pop Gulf Island, who is male, six-foot-three, has curly hair, and lives on such-and-such road…and so forth.

    We mark this twain on the river of Covid 19 denial: there are lies, damned lies, and statistics.

  9. Meanwhile an event labelled as the ‘no more lockdown rodeo rally’ could be held as planned on May 1st & 2nd in Bowden, Central Alberta. The Foothills Cowboys Asssociation and the Wildrose Rodeo Association are not supporting the event. The Bowden Agricultural Society revoked a permit to hold it at the municipality’s rodeo grounds. Other press outlets have provided information.

    The organizer, Northcott Rodeo Inc. has indicated on its Facebook page that the rodeo’s location will be made known on Facebook at 5.00pm the previous day and identified two ticket vendors.

    Among the event’s advertised speakers is Glen Carritt former Innisfail town councilor and would be mayor, who during an interview with CTV who indicated “We’re in civil disobedience right now and if people don’t move forward with civil disobedience then the next step is not fun”.

    Do readers know of other forthcoming super spreader events supported by selfish petty louts?

  10. Peace, order and good government. Heh.

    The Carpay screed on car accidents being worse than Covid is predictably incorrect — have Alberta hospitals ever been taxed to the limit with injuries from vehicle crashes? I’d say never. Also, 2,073 Covid deaths total versus less than 300 traffic deaths per year, about 6 to 1 in disfavour of Covid. So Covid is indeed far more dangerous than driving.

    The excuse is the deaths are mostly old folk who’ve had more than their fair share of the grand Alberta life by inconveniently living so long, so sayonara! Shades of kenney’s comments from a year ago.

    I await tomorrow’s exciting chapter on Alberta’s further descent into dystopia.

  11. This is a gathering perfect storm of mayhem and disaster.

    Premier Cry & Angry Midget wanted to bring back the oil boom 70s, the morality of the 50s, and the CON rage of the 80s. Instead, Alberta became the Ninth Circle of Hell.

    Kenney’s recent declaration that “natural immunity” is the end goal for Alberta is pretty much an indication that he’s thrown in the towel and expects to depart for Saskatchewan and another federal riding before 2023.

    I need more popcorn.

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