Jason Kenney takes Alberta into the fall of hell

You could tell Jason Kenney didn’t want to be there. Just five days before a federal election in which he has a clear interest, Alberta’s prime minister was forced to announce a series of new restrictions aimed at preventing his province’s healthcare system from collapsing under the weight of COVID-19. , all because he insisted. to open your province faster than anywhere else in the country. It was a gift to his mortal enemy, Justin Trudeau, and a dagger to the heart for the Conservative leader he had endorsed and supported from day one. And as if to add insult to these wounds, the PPC leader, Maxime Bernier, accused him of being a “despot” and said he was flying west to campaign against him. After a summer of making the stupidest game possible, it seems like Jason Kenney has earned a suitably stupid award.

Time will tell whether the new UCP measures, which include a vaccine passport that is sold as a “restriction waiver program” along with a dizzying array of restrictions and additional cuts, will prevent the province’s health system from falling apart. double. Alberta physicians may still have to use their triage protocols, which determine who they choose to treat and who they choose to ignore in extreme circumstances. But it is clear that Kenney invoked a political classification protocol that involved putting his own partisan interests and political health above those of Erin O’Toole and the Conservative Party of Canada. If the latter has to die so that the former can continue to live, then so be it.

Kenney’s approach, which prioritizes freedom to manage COVID, has pushed Alberta into the position of having the most restrictions in Canada. And no one in the Kenney administration has taken personal responsibility for its failure yet. The inimitable Tyler Shandro still has his job as Minister of Health. So does Deena Hinshaw, the province’s director of medical health, whose advice was apparently instrumental in the August decision to switch from pandemic to endemic state and stop mandatory testing and isolation. And Kenney, despite being one of the most unpopular prime ministers in Alberta history, remains at the top of the pecking order, for now, anyway.

In the course of his comments on the need for new measures, Kenney offered a cursory one-line apology for some of his administration’s recent decisions. He had the sincerity of sorry, not sorry, of a boy who is forced to apologize to his little sister for something he didn’t think was really wrong. Calgary SunRick Bell invited him to elaborate on his apology, Kenney returned it. “You cannot keep serious intrusions in people’s lives permanently. So no, I do not apologize for the decision to relax public health restrictions in the summer. “Earlier this week, Hinshaw rejected that assessment. In a meeting with Alberta doctors on Monday, she said that “I think that trajectory was set when we removed all public health restrictions in July.”

But regardless of the policy error that put Alberta on the path that has resulted in its ICUs and hospitals filling Well above his normal capacity with COVID-19 patients, it’s clear that Kenney doesn’t really think his government did a bad job here. He repeatedly cited Alberta’s per capita death rate as an example of how his government had successfully handled the pandemic, and presented an obvious straw man as proof that he was occupying the moderate middle ground. “If the alternative is simply permanent, unmovable, consistent and strict policies,” he said, “I think you would see even greater anger than the frustration you see today.”

Goodbye “The best summer ever”. Jason Kenney has led #Alberta straight into the fall of hell. @maxfawcett writes for @natobserver

Kenney is not the only prominent conservative who is allowing logical fallacies to blind them to the ugly realities of Alberta’s performance on COVID-19. Rachel Curran, former director of policy at Stephen Harper and Facebook’s public policy manager for Canada, described the current crisis as “nothing more than the usual Covid problem.” Like Kenney, he cited Alberta’s per capita death rate as an example of why, in his words, “Albertans are experiencing Covid in * relatively * good shape.”

But those death rates are a follow-up indicator, and they include the first three waves in which we knew far less about the virus and how to contain it than we do today. Right nowAlberta has a per capita death rate three times that of Ontario and eight times that of Quebec. Those provinces appear to have learned something from the first three waves and have adjusted their approach accordingly. The Alberta government, on the other hand, can’t seem to stop making the same mistake over and over again.

You’d think that at some point Jason Kenney would get tired of being hoisted onto his own freedom-shaped firecracker. But it’s clear to almost everyone by now that the “best summer ever” will lead to the fall of hell for Albertans, and it may end with Kenney inadvertently helping to elect the Liberals in Alberta on September 20. The only real question that remains is whether or not Kenney himself will pay a political price, and if so, how high it will be.


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