Jason Kenney’s premiership was always going to cost Alberta a fortune, whether in dignity or in dollars. Few would have suspected his ineptitude would cost lives, but here we are. After lacklustre performances leading three different ministries during the Harper years, the MP for Calgary Midnapore set his eyes on leading his home province.
Kenney’s best-before date is long past due, and he needs to be tossed before Albertans get sicker.
How can anyone be surprised that Alberta’s vaccination rates are amongst the lowest in the country? Since the start of the pandemic, Kenney has failed to act on the advice of healthcare experts time and again. While he has been focused on securing votes for an election that is two years away, Albertans are suffering.
Contrary to a recent study that puts low vaccine rates on the shoulders of non-university educated Albertans, the real offender is the self-serving, anti-choice, anti-LGBTQ+, career politician sitting behind the premier’s desk.
Since the earliest days of the pandemic, Kenney has cast doubt on the advice of experts. Whether through malice or ineptitude, his refusal to listen to doctors and health care professionals has left Alberta lagging behind the rest of the country. After months of delay, he finally introduced half-measures in November 2020, but it was too late.
Much like Doug Ford in Ontario, Kenney’s unwillingness to listen to experts has resulted in extended lockdowns which is unacceptable. It has resulted in overrun hospitals which is unsustainable. Worst of all, it has resulted in hundreds of preventable deaths—an inexcusable cost.
During a Facebook live event in November, Kenney stated that “COVID-19 vaccinations will not be mandatory.” He went on to note that his UCP government planned on amending the Public Health Act to eliminate a statute granting cabinet the ability to order immunizations during an epidemic.
Why was the premier even talking about this? Why was his priority the elimination of a 100-year-old statue that, by his own admission, had never been used? Simple. He was, and remains, more interested in scoring political points than in protecting the lives of Albertans.
Kenney’s tenure as premier has been marred by failure after failure. He’s slashed thousands of healthcare jobs in every budget since taking office, and plans on eliminating 11,000 more once the pandemic is over. His incompetence would be laughable if it weren’t so tragic.
At every turn, the premier has put his own political interests ahead of Albertans, and it’s cost them their dignity, their dollars and their lives.
Rodger Moran is a veteran political and labour organizer in Canada, Founding Member of the Democratic Socialists of Canada, and Co-Host of the political podcast New Left Radio, Follow him on Twitter @itsrodgermoran.