NDP CALLS FOR STIFFEST COVID-19 FINES IN CANADA,
GUIDELINE FROM SOLICITOR GENERAL TO ENFORCE THE RULES
EDMONTON – Alberta’s NDP is calling for fines issued to individuals violating COVID-19 public health orders to be tripled, a guideline on enforcement to be issued and a streamlined court process as thousands continue to break the law despite record case counts in the province.
“It is clear that we are failing to enforce the current public health measures” said Opposition Leader Rachel Notley “The largest fine we can see levied against someone violating the public health orders to date was $1,500 handed out to the pastor at GraceLife Church. The largest ticket we have seen issued for a single violation is $1,200. I do not believe this is enough of a deterrent.”
Alberta’s NDP is specifically calling for the following for the following measures:
Triple the current fines for individuals to $3,600 per offence.
Create a specific fine for any individual that obstructs the enforcement of public health orders. This fine will also specifically include harassment of frontline workers when they are enforcing mask mandates, physical distancing requirements and household rules for patio dining.
The issuance of a new guideline from the Solicitor General to police services to consistently and vigorously enforce the terms of the Public Health Act.
Transition all fines issued under the Public Health Act during the pandemic to the new administrative penalty process introduced through Bill 21 The Administrative Penalties Act 2020.
“We very much wish that education and public awareness was enough to create broad compliance with health orders,” Notley said. “However, after thirteen months, the public education and awareness from this Government has been mixed messages and support for the very arguments used by the people who organize rallies like the one we saw this weekend.
“Now, it is time for the Premier to send a much clearer message to those people and anybody else who may have gotten the wrong message from his failure to enforce the rules as they sit. The vast majority of people living in this province are doing their part — they’re upholding the rule of law — and keeping themselves and their loved ones safe.
“We owe it to them to do more to stop those who refuse and thumb their nose at the public health orders.”
NDP Justice Critic Irfan Sabir will be issuing a letter to Solicitor General Kaycee Madu later Monday outlining the new measures being sought by the Official Opposition. Sabir noted that media reports have surfaced in Calgary of people following the public health orders being harassed by those holding rallies to oppose them.
“This is not right,” Sabir said. “We need a real deterrent to those that would violate public health orders and also harass and intimidate those who are following the laws.
“The Premier and his Solicitor General need to assert the authority they have to protect the rule of law in this province.”
The Official Opposition offered to work directly with the Government should its proposals require legislation; however, the Premier would need to first reopen the legislature.