David Shepherd, NDP Critic for Health, made the following statement in response to today’s COVID-19 numbers, the open letter sent by 12 capital region mayors, and the extremist views publish by UCP MLA Pete Guthrie:
“There were 4,903 new cases of COVID over the long weekend and now 15,486 active cases overall. There are 602 Albertans in the hospital and 137 of them are in grave danger in the ICU. Seventeen Albertans died from COVID-19 over the long weekend and I offer my condolences to their loved ones.
“Yet despite these horrible numbers, Albertans did not hear a word from their government today.
“I am extremely concerned that neither the Premier, nor the Health Minister, nor the Chief Medical Officer of Health was available to take Albertans’ questions this afternoon.
“That’s not good enough. Jason Kenney’s approach of hoping this will all go away is failing. We are calling for an immediate return to regular COVID briefings from the government.
“Albertans deserve answers on why Jason Kenney and the UCP are failing to take obvious, common sense actions such as introducing vaccine passports.
“Today, the mayors of Edmonton, St. Albert, Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Beaumont, Devon, Morinville, Leduc, Leduc County, Parkland Country, Sturgeon County, and Strathcona County all called for vaccine passports today and I thank them for their leadership.
“Our caucus is proposing a simple, secure and scannable QR-code passport that is mandatory for entry at all non-essential businesses. We have hard evidence from across Canada that vaccine passports immediately boost vaccination rates and we need that immediately. Albertans deserve to be able to go to a hockey game or a live show with the peace of mind that everyone around them is fully vaccinated.
“Instead of real leadership from the UCP, today we saw extremist anti-science views published by the MLA for Airdrie-Cochrane, Pete Guthrie. He falsely claimed that we can’t hold unvaccinated people responsible for the incredible pressure our hospitals are under. That’s an absurd statement. It seems even the inadequate half-measures announced by Jason Kenney last week were too much for Mr. Guthrie. I’m sure he is not the only one who holds these views in the UCP caucus.
“It’s clear that the opinions of the extremist fringe are more important to Jason Kenney than the health and safety of millions of Albertans.
“The premier must appear in public tomorrow, denounce the views of Mr. Guthrie, and present a real plan to keep people safe, reduce the pressure on our healthcare heroes, and keep our economy open.”