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Politics may have motivated Alberta's COVID-19 rule rollback: poli sci

Last Updated Aug 5, 2021 at 7:14 am MDT

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney listens as the 2021 budget is delivered in Edmonton Alta, on Thursday February 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

CALGARY – Premier Jason Kenney has said science is why his government is rolling back COVID-19 health restrictions, but an Alberta political scientist says there’s more to it than that.

Lori Williams from Mount Royal University believes the move is an attempt to win back votes and build more confidence with the UCP base again.

“The premier and the UCP want to return to their standing in the polls, their fundraising, just be in a better position overall than they have been since before the pandemic,” she offered.

The UCP is down in the polls and trails the NDP in financial support.


Plus, Williams says there’s no question Kenney is still struggling with what some describe as a caucus revolt and dissension within the party.

But jumping ahead to the finish line may not work the way Kenney wants it to, she adds.

“This attempt to sort of turn the page by sort of putting the pandemic behind us is unlikely to solve all of his problems,” she said.

“And, perhaps at least in the short term, it has made things worse because it has triggered a lot of questions and concerns about if we’re moving too quickly.”


Last week, Alberta announced it would be doing away with mandatory isolations for people who test positive for the virus and scaling back testing.

Dr. Deena Hinshaw said it was to focus the province’s limited resources on major outbreaks and other health crises.

The move has drawn wide criticism from Albertans, doctors, and medical organizations.