NDP CALL FOR PUBLIC INQUIRY INTO UCP’S HANDLING OF PANDEMIC AFTER FIRST WAVE REPORT HIDDEN
EDMONTON – Alberta’s NDP are calling for a public inquiry into the UCP’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic in the wake of the unconscionable decision to remove testing, tracing and isolation protocols and after it was revealed the government will not release a much-delayed report into their first wave response.
“This is not something we take lightly, but it is clear that Albertans can no longer trust their own government to keep them safe,” said NDP Deputy Leader Sarah Hoffman. “Over the last 17 months, Albertans have seen Jason Kenney and the UCP government repeatedly undermine public health measures and mislead the public on matters related to public health.”
“Jason Kenney and the UCP are now hiding this information from Albertans — information Albertans paid a half-million dollars to see. There is widespread evidence of a corrupt and secretive government working to deceive the public and many of the decisions they have made could put people at serious risk.”
The NDP released the terms of reference for a proposed public inquiry. They suggested it be led by a retired judge and modelled on the Walkerton inquiry into contaminated drinking water in Ontario, which is widely viewed as being one of the most effective and useful public inquiries in Canadian history.
“A full public inquiry is necessary because it allows Albertans to understand what happened over the course of this pandemic and to plan for the future, so we don’t repeat the same poor decision-making process again, when we face another pandemic, or another public emergency,” said Hoffman. “We’ve even done the work for them.”
The report being hidden by the UCP cost $475,000 and was initially due in fall 2020, but it was delayed several months and not delivered to the government until February. Despite the lengthy delay, Shandro repeatedly promised to release the report as recently as June 1 under questioning from the NDP. Now the UCP have reversed course, claiming the report is no longer relevant.
“This report belongs to Albertans, and they deserve to see just how badly Jason Kenney mismanaged the pandemic response from day one. And how badly they continue to mismanage the response now,” said Hoffman. “That’s why we need a full public inquiry – one independent of government control and UCP political spin.”