by Stephen Dafoe
The NDP is calling Jason Kenney’s new COViD-19 restrictions confusing and say they leave Albertans with more questions than answers.
“The Premier is continuing to make false promises and create false hope, setting up for further challenges and disappointment in the weeks to come,” said NDP Leader Rachel Notley in a media release Tuesday night. “He’s undermining peoples’ ability to plan. These new measures will have an immediate impact on Alberta small business owners struggling to stay afloat and to ride out this massive third wave.”
The opposition has and continues to call for increased business supports for all businesses affected by restrictions.
Although welcoming the decision to close schools to in-person classes, the NDP says the measure comes too late.
“Jason Kenney minimized the problem in our schools for months, and now today hundreds of thousands of students have been forced out of their classrooms,” Notley said. “He claimed schools were safe and sat on his hands while school boards, teachers and parents begged for help. He’s failed each and every student in our province.”
Notley went on to express concern about the number of Albertans who will continue to work in retail locations, now reduced to 10 per cent of fire code capacity, with no sick pay program in place.
“I fear so many will still be forced to choose between staying home to help prevent transmission and paying their bills,” the opposition leader said. “We would pass a bill on sick pay in a matter of hours if only the Premier would take the padlock off the legislature.”
Notley, who had called for a tripling of fines, said Kenney only increased fines in the wake of a weekend rodeo event in Bowden that drew more than 4,000 people.
“I am also concerned that tomorrow morning we will hear from UCP government MLAs telling Albertans that they oppose these new measures,” Notley said. “I condemn this behaviour in the strongest possible terms, and I call on Jason Kenney to finally have the guts to throw these MLAs out of his caucus. If you can’t support keeping Albertans safe, then you can’t sit in the government caucus. Period. It’s as simple as that.”