Kenney and the UCP are preparing to capitulate to anti-vaxx protestors illegally blockading Alberta’s only US border crossing. (Image source: Globe and Mail)
Rural anti-vaxxer UCP MLAs are taking control of the UCP caucus and are calling the shots as the Premier of Alberta desperately struggles to hold onto leadership of the UCP. Rural UCP MLAs appear to be negotiating directly with the anti-vaxx protestors blockading Alberta’s only US border crossing in exchange for the immediate removal of public health measures, including the Restrictions Exemption Program (REP). The UCP caucus is expected to make a decision on the REP Monday and the Calgary MLAs, who claim to support the REP, hold the balance of power.
Vaccines are still our best tool to defend against the virus and protect our healthcare system
Even with the more infectious Omicron variant, vaccines remain our best defence against overburdening our hospitals and healthcare system. The proof is in the numbers. The unvaccinated have been hospitalized at a rate 5.4 times that of the double-vaccinated and 11.2 times higher than the triple-vaccinated.
Vaccine mandates work—but now the rural UCP MLAs want to remove the REP to appease radical anti-vaxx protesters
The Restrictions Exemption Program (REP) works. (Source: The Economist)
Studies of the vaccine mandates implemented in Canada and Europe demonstrate that the mandates work. The week after vaccine requirements were announced in provinces across Canada, first-dose vaccinations increased by 42% over the previous week; and by 71% over two weeks. Researchers estimated that 287,000 more people in these provinces were vaccinated within six weeks as a result. Permitting unvaccinated Albertans without recent negative COVID tests to gather indoors at bars and restaurants will result in increased risks to public health and local businesses.
Albertans are dying needlessly under the UCP’s gross negligence
Since the start of Omicron, Alberta has experienced by far the most excess deaths of any other provinces. (Source: The Calgary Herald)
The UCP’s disastrous mismanagement of the pandemic is once again forcing Alberta hospitals to cancel critical surgeries. The backlog in surgeries was already over 80,000 people as of December, meaning that thousands of people who are waiting for life saving surgery may die waiting and suffer unnecessarily. This week, Red Deer Hospital was so full they were diverting all new patients to Calgary, with the exception of only “life and limb” emergency surgeries.
"Let it rip" is not an acceptable public health strategy
Allowing the virus to rip uncontrolled through the population would generate new mutations even faster. In Denmark, where the newer Omicron BA.2 is now spreading widely, people who were infected with the original BA.1 Omicron are already being reinfected with BA.2.
The Alberta Government must take immediate action to protect Albertans against the Omicron variant, including:
1) Maintain the successful Restriction Exemptions Program (REP) to keep businesses open and safe for front-line workers and the public.
2) Re-implement reduced capacity limits on indoor gatherings, including professional sporting events, coupled with financial support for affected small businesses and workers.
3) Increase public PCR testing capacity and availability of free rapid take-home tests, immediately.
4) Provide K/N95 masks to all Albertans, especially teachers, students, frontline workers and the vulnerable.
5) Provide proper HEPA air filtration in classrooms and daycare settings across the province.
6) Bring vaccination clinics to schools to quickly address Alberta's dangerously low youth vaccination coverage.