by Stephen Dafoe
Citing the province’s recent decision to remove tracing, testing and isolation protocols this month, the province’s NDP Opposition on Tuesday called for a public inquiry into the UCP government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This is not something we take lightly, but it is clear that Albertans can no longer trust their own government to keep them safe,” said NDP Deputy Leader Sarah Hoffman in a media release Tuesday. “Over the last 17 months, Albertans have seen Jason Kenney and the UCP government repeatedly undermine public health measures and mislead the public on matters related to public health.”
Hoffman went on to claim the UCP are now hiding information from Albertans with respect to a report on the first wave to hit the province. That report, believed to cost $475,000 was due in fall 2020 but was not delivered to the government until February. The NDP says the UCP has reversed course on releasing the report, stating it is no longer relevant.
Hoffman said the report belongs to Albertans and as such, they deserve to see it, particularly to see how badly the government handled things. “That’s why we need a full public inquiry – one independent of government control and UCP political spin,” Hoffman said.
The NDP would like to see a public inquiry led by a retired judge and have the inquiry modelled on the Walkerton inquiry into contaminated drinking water in Ontario.
“A full public inquiry is necessary because it allows Albertans to understand what happened over the course of this pandemic and to plan for the future, so we don’t repeat the same poor decision-making process again when we face another pandemic, or another public emergency,” Hoffman said. “We’ve even done the work for them.”