Recordings show a politicized government response to COVID-19 and a push to discourage enforcement of measures
EDMONTON - This morning, CBC released contents of leaked recordings between public servants, including Dr. Deena Hinshaw, and the cabinet committee tasked with responding to COVID-19.
“The contents of these recordings are troubling,” said Gil McGowan, president of the Alberta Federation of Labour. “They make it clear that the Kenney government is more worried about politics and narrow economic interests, than listening to expert public health advice.”
On Tuesday, the Premier announced new COVID-19 measures to address the second wave, a plan that masqueraded as action based on expert advice. Yet the recordings make it clear that the UCP government is not interested in following expert advice when it comes to the economy.
“The Kenney government is trapped in a false dichotomy, choosing between the economy and Albertans’ health. Yet, our economy cannot recover and thrive without dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic”, said McGowan. “In the meantime, more and more Albertans will continue to get sick and die.”
The CBC story also tells us that the recordings “suggest a desire by Health Minister Shandro to exert control over enforcement of public health orders.”
“Rather than focus on keeping workers and Albertans safe, they worked to appease their base by discouraging enforcement of what few measures they’ve been willing to put in place” said McGowan. “Education is important, but without enforcement any measure is ultimately toothless and ineffective.”
The recordings make it clear that the Chief Medical Officer sees her role as being one that advises the government. They also make it clear that this ideological government is not keen to take advice from public health experts.
“All final decisions on this pandemic are made by cabinet, meaning Alberta’s failing pandemic response lays squarely at the feet of Jason Kenney. We are all going to pay the price for his hubris”, concluded McGowan.
Director of Communications, AFL