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Premier Kenney breaks silence, answers questions on Facebook Live

Last Updated Sep 1, 2021 at 8:46 pm MDT

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney speaks during a press conference in Edmonton on February 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

CALGARY — After weeks of near radio silence from Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, he appeared in a surprise Facebook Live on Wednesday evening to answer questions from Albertans.

Kenney began the Facebook Live by hoping Albertans have had a good summer and shouted out students and teachers in the province for heading back to school this week.

WATCH: Premier Jason Kenney answers questions on Facebook Live. 

Kenney was first asked about AHS announcing that all workers and healthcare providers must be fully vaccinated come Oct. 31.

“Employers in certain circumstances do have, not just a right, but also a responsibility to ensure the safety of their workplace. So, AHS, which operates all of our hospitals, and some of our long term care facilities, also regulate more broadly healthcare in Alberta. They’re responsible for a very large healthcare workforce.”

Kenney says that people who want to work at AHS are required to be vaccinated for communicable diseases, and they must prove vaccination or immunity for measles, mumps, rubella, hepatitis B, and must also be tested for tuberculosis.

“So adding COVID-19 to that is just an obvious thing to do.”

Kenney was also asked the question that many Albertans have wondered over the last few weeks. Where was he?

“I’m right here at McDougall Centre.

“I’ve been working out of this office this week. I did take a couple of weeks of summer holidays. I can tell you I was in touch with my office, with senior ministers, with senior officials and public service on a daily basis, and spent a fair bit of my summer break time on the phone and on my computer, and have regular briefings on the COVID-19 situation.”

Kenney then discussed current vaccination rates in the province and how COVID-19 doesn’t pose as much of a risk to those aged 20 to 45.

He looked back on the vaccine lottery and how the province has worked to increase vaccination rates.

Then he finished off that answer by saying the province will be “rolling out a new and different incentive.”


The premier was then asked about lockdowns and if the province has any plans to step back and implement further restrictions to contain the spread of the fourth wave of COVID-19.

“The trick is to get more people vaccinated and that is the alternative to lockdowns.

“As I’ve said in the past, we have always looked at restrictions as a last and limited resort in order to protect the healthcare system. And if indeed we do see this wave jeopardizing the health care system, we may have to take some very targeted actions but nothing like lockdowns.”

Kenney was then asked about masks and if they could be made mandatory province-wide once again.

“The reality is that people that feel they should wear masks can do so. There is a mask mandate that applies to rapid transit and mass transit, rideshares, taxis and, of course, certain workplaces like hospitals and long term care centres and other particular workplaces.

“And so, I would say that we’ll continue to monitor the situation.”

Kenney was asked why he is hiding on Facebook Live rather than holding a media availability.

“Well, I’m hiding in plain view. Normally we get tens of thousands of viewers and I’m able to answer dozens of questions here — more than news conferences. But this goes straight to ordinary Albertans and gives you chance and others a chance to ask a question. I think that’s public accountability right there.”