EDMONTON — Ahead of Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw and Health Minister Tyler Shandro taking to the microphone for a COVID-19 update on Thursday, Alberta’s leader of the official opposition wants provincial leadership to take responsibility for the rising cases.
With active cases now approaching 16,000 and 647 people in hospital — including 147 in the ICU — NDP leader Rachel Notley told 660 NEWS there’s frustration and a lack of trust brewing among Albertans.
“Albertans need to see the people who have declared that they are the decision-makers, which is the premier and his cabinet, they have said over and over decisions are made by them. They need to be stepping up to talk to Albertans about what the plan is, take responsibility for the failures, and shift gears and try to get us out of this mess,” she said.
While it remains unclear right now if there will be any new measures announced at the press conference, Notley is hopeful there will be some significant changes coming to manage the increase. This could include, but is not limited to, a vaccine passport system.
“We know that there’s a small fringe element of the population that distrusts everything that comes from public health, but I’m a little worried that we’re going to start to lose the faith of the 70 per cent who have been stepping to do what’s asked of them every time. I frankly think that we need to get an independent science table in place,” she said. “(Vaccine passports) will immediately create a jump in the number of people who are vaccinated, and we are going to need to see them roll out for us how they are going to, in the interim, engage in sort of triage that will keep people safe.”
Notley said the plan to offer $100 gift cards to unvaccinated Albertans to spur them towards getting a shot has largely been a failure, and won’t result in a big enough jump in people getting immunized.
She added that the majority of people who haven’t got their doses are not the anti-vaccination types that have been holding loud and disruptive protests, but are instead mildly hesitant or just haven’t had the right opportunity to get it, so the passport system would be enough to convince them to finally go through with it.
At the end of the day, Notley is hopeful the province can now get back in a position to move past the pandemic and restore falling levels of trust.
“I feel that I say this too much with these folks, but I’ve just never seen this level of incompetence or ambivalence or disinterest, I just don’t know what’s driving it.”