CALGARY — Premier Jason Kenney appeared publicly for the first time Wednesday night in an unannounced Facebook Live event, answering questions selected by staffers.
It was the premier’s first public comments since August 9.
Dr. Deena Hinshaw last addressed the province August 13. Health Minister Tyler Shandro AHS not appeared publicly since late July.
Kenney’s talk included defence of his vacation time as well as restating the importance of vaccines. He also defended his government’s approach to vaccine choice and refusal to implement any standard immunization record documents.
New cases hit 1346 Thursday – essentially identical to Wednesday’s totals – with hospitalizations creeping up on the 500 mark and ICU admissions at 114.
The frustration brewing in many parts of the province spilled over as Calgary city council prepared for an emergency session scheduled for Friday afternoon.
“This is a complete and total dereliction of duty by the provincial government,” said Mayor Naheed Nenshi. “To leave school boards and employers and stores and municipal governments on their own without any guidance is unconscionable.”
Adding he has lost all faith in the province to act, the Friday meeting will discuss reintroducing mask mandates, requiring vaccination of all 15,000 city staff and the possibility of requiring proof of vaccination to use city recreational facilities.
NEW MODELLING REVEALS DISTURBING NUMBERS
New modelling from a team of independent pandemic researchers suggests a health crisis is unavoidable unless there is strong action.
“You’re on a trajectory that’s straight up,” said Sarah Otto, a mathematical biologist at UBC. She’s also a member of the B.C. COVID Modelling group.
“By the end of next week this is projecting 2,600 cases. Eight, nine days later (it’s) 5,200 cases. That’s the trajectory Alberta is on,” Otto said.
Political scientist Keith Brownsey said the Kenney government looks lost.
“He doesn’t look like a leader in control, in charge, with an understanding of the facts and the situation in which this province finds itself,” Brownsey said.
“Is he helping the economy by denying responsibility for this COVID pandemic? Or is he chasing away business?” asked Brownsy. “I think that’s the crucial question.”