While he did not face a vote of confidence in a meeting with his United Conservative Party group on Wednesday, Alberta Prime Minister Jason Kenney will now face a leadership review in the spring, the party’s constituencies were informed more. late that day.
As his government scrambles to try to prevent the health care system from collapsing due to the skyrocketing COVID-19 cases amid the fourth wave of the pandemic, Kenney has come under fire from members of his party, including some MLAs. of UCP, for the decisions it has made to face the public health crisis.
READ MORE: Alberta Prime Minister Jason Kenney Faces UCP Caucus Restless Over COVID-19 Crisis
Some have criticized him for doing too little too late to address this summer’s flood of coronavirus hospitalizations in the province, while others say he has infringed on people’s individual rights with his public health measures, such as the program of recently announced vaccination passport.
Late Wednesday night, Global News obtained a letter sent to the UCP constituencies associations by party chairman Ryan Becker. Many associations had been calling for an early party review and vote on Kenney’s leadership, according to Joel Mullan, vice president for policy at the PCU.
“I am writing to share with you our intention to schedule the 2022 annual general meeting and the accompanying leadership review vote next spring,” Becker’s letter read. “I spoke with the prime minister, who specifically asked that we make this change so that we can address any leadership issues well in advance of the next election.
“We are all aware that recent government decisions on the response to the fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic have caused anger and frustration among some party members and there is a growing desire for a leadership review.
“We have determined that the best way for members to be heard at this time and for our party to maintain our grassroots, member-driven tradition is for the AGM 2022 and Leadership Review to take place in the spring.”
Until this plan was announced, Kenney’s next leadership review was not expected to take place until late 2022.
Dave Prisco, communications director for the UCP, told Global News that the party is “working to confirm a date and place to make it happen.”
Global News has reached out to the Prime Minister’s Office for comment on the Spring Leadership Review and will update this story once we receive a response.
When asked Tuesday about his leadership being questioned by UCP members, Kenney told reporters that he was focused on the COVID-19 crisis and not politics.
The fourth wave of the pandemic has hit Alberta harder than any other part of Canada. Amid increasing tension in the province’s health care system, Kenney apologized for trying to move from a pandemic approach to a COVID-19 endemic approach. However, he has also said that he has no regrets about lifting almost all public health restrictions on July 1.
READ MORE: Alberta Asks Feds For Help As 29 COVID-19 Deaths Reported In 24 Hours Tuesday
Watch below: Some recent Global News videos on Jason Kenney.
This week, the Kenney government confirmed that it has contacted the federal government to request assistance should it be necessary to move patients out of the province if hospitals can no longer admit new people and to bring in intensive care personnel. if required.
“We are sailing as furiously as we can with this huge tsunami that is trying to drown us,” said Dr. Paul Parks, president of emergency medicine for the Alberta Medical Association and an emergency room physician in Medicine Hat, Alta. . .
“I really don’t think we need fans or we need space or rooms or beds or materials. We need human beings safely, safely. And that has become clear to us over the last month or more, as the numbers are increasing. “
READ MORE: Alberta Health Workers Desperate for COVID-19 Help: ‘We Are Sailing As Furiously As We Can’
There are now 1,040 people in Alberta hospitals with COVID-19, the highest number of hospitalizations the province has seen since the pandemic began in March 2020.
On Wednesday, Alberta Health said it had identified 1,336 new cases of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, along with an additional 20 deaths from the disease.
On Tuesday, Kenney announced that Tyler Shandro had stepped down as Health Minister and had been replaced by former Labor and Immigration Minister Jason Copping, arguing that the health portfolio needed a new set of eyes. Shandro has been appointed to Copping’s former cabinet position.
READ MORE: Tyler Shandro loses health portfolio as Prime Minister Jason Kenney changes cabinet
Kenney has tried to address the escalating crisis with a renewed effort to vaccinate more Albertans. Those numbers have improved since last Wednesday, when the prime minister announced that his government would bring a vaccine passport for non-essential businesses.
–With files from Global News ‘Tom Vernon and The Canadian Press’ Alanna Smith
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