Alberta’s Major Banks Have Strong Economy in 2022 After Tough Year of COVID-19 | The Canadian News

It was a speech that symbolized Alberta’s pandemic politics in 2021: the boastful, loud megaphone victory and the first out of Prime Minister Jason Kenney’s doorstep on COVID-19 that preceded a crushing hospital crisis.

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In 2022, Kenney and his united Conservative government aim to advance the economy and catch up on the thousands of canceled surgeries as hospitals were overwhelmed during the fourth wave of COVID-19 in the fall.

Click to play video: '' I do not apologize for decision to relax public health restrictions in the summer ': Kenney defends COVID-19 decisions''

‘I make no apologies for decision to relax summer public health restrictions’ – Kenney defends COVID-19 decisions

‘I Make No Apologies for Decision to Relax Summer Public Health Restrictions’: Kenney Defends COVID-19 Decisions – Sep 15, 2021

Health Minister Jason Copping said it will take some time. The goal is to catch up on the 68,000 pre-pandemic surgery waiting list by the middle of next year.

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“That’s my number one job aside from responding to COVID, of course,” Copping said earlier this month, announcing that the number of canceled surgeries had stabilized at around 81,000. “We are going to reduce that waiting list.”

Click to Play Video: 'Alberta Health Minister Says Backlog of Surgeries Stabilized'

Alberta’s health minister says delay in surgeries has leveled off

Alberta Health Minister Says Backlog of Surgeries Stabilized – Dec 10, 2021

The wind is in the sails of the PCU, at least in the short term, with a payoff from oil and gas revenues at the end of the year that cut the projected budget deficit by two-thirds to less than $ 6 billion.

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Alberta’s budget benefits from oil prices that no one had negotiated

There was other good economic news.

Tech giant Amazon Web Services announced in November that it had begun construction of a $ 4.3 billion cloud computing server center in Calgary.

Alberta’s unemployment fell below eight percent.

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Big-budget film productions took advantage of tax credits to shoot in the province, including those of HBO The last of us – and injected millions of dollars into local economies.

Click to play video: 'HBO's' The Last of Us 'TV Production Takes Over Parts of Edmonton'

HBO’s ‘The Last of Us’ TV production takes over parts of Edmonton

HBO TV Production ‘The Last of Us’ Takes Over Parts of Edmonton – October 6, 2021

Albertans are optimistic by nature. They just need a reason for their optimism. Well, there are many reasons right now, including the fact that we are leading Canada with a lot in economic growth, “Kenney told the Calgary Chamber of Commerce this month.

There was a $ 3.8 billion settlement with the federal government that will see daycare costs start falling in January and drop to $ 10 a day by 2026.

Doug Schweitzer, Minister of Employment, Economy and Innovation, announced: “This was the year that Alberta regained our arrogance.”

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Trudeau, Kenney promise $ 10 a day child care in Alberta within the next 5 years

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Kenney struck a similar triumphant tone on June 18 in his speech on a sunny day near the Edmonton River Valley.

He announced that Alberta would end nearly all COVID-19 health restrictions effective July 1, in time for Alberta’s signature Calgary Stampede rodeo and festival.

It was the fastest reopening in Canada, but Kenney said it was justified by sufficient vaccination rates.

Kenney said his administration was not planning for the worst case scenario and berated reporters and medical experts for suggesting it could even happen. His party billed it as “the best summer ever” and marketed hats touting the feel-good slogan.

Click to Play Video: 'Hinshaw Says Alberta's' Open for Summer 'Plan Premature, Caused a Spike in COVID-19 Cases'

Hinshaw says Alberta’s ‘Open for Summer’ plan was premature, prompting a spike in COVID-19 cases

Hinshaw Says Alberta’s ‘Open for Summer’ Plan Was Premature and Caused a Spike in COVID-19 Cases – September 14, 2021

COVID-19 did not receive the memo.

The government then did not act when cases exploded in August and did not change course until September. Deaths soared, officials rushed to double the capacity of the intensive care unit, army doctors were called in and 15,000 surgeries reported across the province, including cancer operations, were delayed.

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Kenney introduced a vaccine passport form and other restrictions that increased vaccinations and reduced hospital cases. It seemed to help pull the system off the edge of the abyss.

The prime minister took responsibility and said that “the ball is over with me.”

Click to play video: 'Premier Jason Kenney Defends' Open for Summer' Relaunch Plan

Prime Minister Jason Kenney Defends ‘Open for Summer’ Relaunch Plan

Prime Minister Jason Kenney Defends ‘Open for Summer’ Relaunch Plan – May 27, 2021

But the mea culpa had asterisks: other provinces also had problems; He didn’t act earlier because he wasn’t sure Albertans, weary of COVID-19, would follow the rules; I would have acted sooner, but I was waiting for Dr. Deena Hinshaw, chief medical officer for health, to propose changes.

The COVID-19 conflicts and controversies sent Kenney’s popularity numbers plummeting and opened deep and sometimes public rifts within his group and party.

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Backbencher delivers strong warning to Kenney about ignoring UCP members’ concerns

Critics said Kenney was slow to enforce health rules over the past three waves, jeopardizing the capacity of the health system because he feared alienating anti-vaccine elements from his party.

Kenney tried to contain the infighting. Dissidents Todd Loewen and Drew Barnes were removed from the caucus. Cabinet Minister Leela Aheer became a former Cabinet Minister.

Click to Play Video: 'UCP Holds Annual General Meeting As Kenney Faces Leadership Questions'

UCP holds annual general meeting as Kenney faces questions about leadership

UCP Holds Annual General Meeting As Kenney Faces Leadership Questions – November 19, 2021

Kenney, under pressure from the Cabinet and later by some two dozen constituencies, agreed to advance a review of his leadership to a one-day vote on April 9 in Red Deer beginning in late 2022.

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Kenney’s leadership will come under the microscope in April as UCP establishes a one-day vote of confidence

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Problems persist, beginning with his longtime rival for PCU leadership, Brian Jean.

Jean, one of the party’s co-founders, won the nomination to represent Fort McMurray-Lac La Biche in an upcoming by-election. He is running on a platform to end Kenney’s time as leader, saying that Kenney’s top-down style and failed decisions on COVID-19 cannot be redeemed and that the party needs a new leader if it hopes to win the 2023 elections.

Click to play video: 'Brian Jean Wins UCP Nomination at Fort McMurray-Lac La Biche'

Brian Jean Wins UCP Nomination at Fort McMurray-Lac La Biche

Brian Jean Wins UCP Nomination at Fort McMurray-Lac La Biche – December 13, 2021

“Kenney is imposing it all (on oil and gas prices),” said political scientist Duane Bratt of Mount Royal University in Calgary. “The other 2021 story, obviously, is COVID.

“At almost every step of the way, the government acts later than anyone else in the country and responds weaker than everyone else in the country, challenges what they are doing and then gradually changes course. We will have to see what happens in January if Omicron (variant of COVID-19) becomes as serious as some believe. “

© 2021 The Canadian Press

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