Alberta Politics

The Mockdown continues

Hat tip: the Breakdown

When Jason Kenney stepped up to the podium just shy of twenty minutes late to announce new Covid-19 measures on Tuesday, December 8, someone had already forwarded the memo to media.

There would be mandatory closures of restaurants, bars, casinos, bingo halls, gyms, pools, billiard halls, salons, and more.

“We managed to get through most of this tough year with lower, relative levels of Covid infections, hospitalizations, and fatalities than the other large Canadian provinces (with greater populations) and all of the U.S. states (where little to nothing was done either),” Kenney said.

“And we did that with a lighter hand on job-killing restrictions while also coping with the hardest hit Canadian economy due to the oil price collapse on top of the global Covid recession. And we did it while leading Canada in Covid response…”

As an introduction to his introduction of mandatory business and service closures, Alberta’s Premier spoke about how great Alberta had been at dealing with the pandemic.

Let that marinate a moment.

Maybe a moment more.

I can’t take all the credit for this statement – I follow a number of Alberta doctors for actual pandemic insight.

There was a preposterous reliance on “personal responsibility” from a Premier who has only once (in my few years of following his every word) said that he had made a mistake – by shutting down businesses in March. Well, he actually said “this government“, of which governing party he is leader, and for which he makes decisions so, ipsofacto, he made a mistake – basically.

A man who cannot admit he has any responsibility for that which he is not applauded cannot truly believe that others will do anything they do not personally benefit from.

Masks were the simplest example. Masks do not protect the wearer. If the person wearing the mask happens to have mild Covid symptoms, it helps protect others from them. Ergo, there is less personal, and more societal, benefit to wearing one.

Kenney refused to institute a provincial mask mandate because “the guy in Cold Lake” wouldn’t wear one and the mandate couldn’t be enforced. The same could legitimately be said for every law which is applied after the fact.

And speaking of every law – they exist not because the majority of people would not abide by common courtesy, but specifically because a few “bad apples”, if I must, refuse to comply with simple rules that make society safer and, arguably, more free for the vast majority of people.

Instead, Kenney acquiesced and introduced some quarter measures on November 12 (which, purportedly, were mere suggestions).

430 doctors signed a letter to the Premier, delivered November 12, asking for a “circuit breaker” – a two-week lockdown – to get the infection rate under control.

On that day, the government announced 860 new cases and there were 225 people in hospital. There were 8,305 active cases in the province.

341 doctors signed another letter on November 23 asking again for a “circuit breaker” to get infection rates under control.

Additional measures followed on November 24, when the Premier issued another order banning indoor gatherings on personal property. No circuit breaker was announced.

On December 8, less than one month after the the first measures, the government announced 1,727 new cases, for a total of 20, 388 active cases in the province, with 654 people in hospital, and, finally, a “circuit breaker” lockdown, that was twice as long as doctors had asked for a month earlier.

“If all of these measures are followed, I believe they will be sufficient,” Dr. Deena Hinshaw said during the December 10 Covid update.

But the self-appointed Premier of personal responsibility himself didn’t believe the measures would be followed.

During a Facebook live event on December 8, Kenney said that an additional week of online schooling was added in January for all K-12 classes in Alberta to allow for a “cool down” between kids “spending time with their families” over the holidays in order to “reduce community transmission in schools” when they go back.

And he’s doing the same for businesses and families by setting the four-week lockdown – two weeks before Christmas, so maybe you won’t kill grandma and grandpa, and two weeks after so you don’t bring your infectious self back to work and keep spreading it.

People who will abide by the rules are being asked to forego Christmas with their loved ones while people who have no intention of following the public health measures are being coddled by the Premier of this province to make it safe enough for them to gather together, in person.

Is it? Is it safe enough?

We’ve gone through the last two and a half months with the majority of people following health recommendations and a few “freedom lovers” flaunting it in our faces while cases continued to rise without any end in sight. Now we’re on full lockdown again, Christmas is screwed, our healthcare system is in peril, Albertans are dying, and the fucking leader of the province is basically saying someone else will clean up the criminals’ mess?

I am so done. Fuck Kenney.

This post contains opinion.

Deirdre Mitchell-MacLean is a political commentator physically distancing in Southern Alberta. 
Connect: @Mitchell_AB for more, @thisweekinAB for posts @politicalRnD for something in between

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