A month later and Jason Kenney is still trying to kill us

We have officially reached the point where I don’t understand what’s going on in Jason Kenney’s head.

To be clear, I used to understand and largely disagree with most of what was in the Premier’s head. Now I just plain don’t understand.

Emerging after basically being on the milk carton for two weeks (yes, he was isolating after being exposed to covid but he managed to do a press conference on his first day in isolation and make appearances at a UCP convention over the weekend), Kenney announced on Tuesday that the province would be taking new measures to combat the shocking rise in covid cases in the province.

How many are the numbers? Well, see for yourself…

In short, they’re horrible. While Ontario and Quebec have basically held steady over the last several weeks in terms of the active cases per capita in those respective provinces, Alberta’s have continued rising.

To be clear, Manitoba is certainly the provincial disaster zone at the moment. Anyone who has seen the recent interview between Rosemary Barton and regular Costa Rica resident and occasional Premier Brian Palliser, there may be some good reasons for why that’s the case. But the spike is new – through the first wave Manitoba was second only to the Atlantic Bubble in terms of successfully handling the pandemic.

Saskatchewan isn’t much better. I’m sure the fact that these three prairie provinces are governed by the three most conservative Premiers in the country is purely coincidence (insert eye roll emoji here).

But Alberta is clearly the consistent outlier. In fact, in terms of the absolute number of cases, while only the fourth most populous province, Alberta has the most cases in the country.

This should be both shocking and appalling to Albertans – most of all to the Premier and his cabinet

But instead, the Kenney government’s approach has been consistently ideologically driven: rely on individual responsibility and limit the restrictions on personal freedoms.

The fact that these views happen to be ragingly pro-business – as opposed to focusing on those business’s employees or at-risk citizens at large – is also, no doubt, merely a coincidence. Kenney’s focus on supporting the beleaguered Alberta oil industry has moved from fixation to something bordering on a Norman Bates level obsession.

Bad news guys: it ain’t working.

The result is Albertans are dying. And ironically, an increasing number of those people are exactly the oil workers Kenney needs to keep the dying industry alive.

This week Alberta reached its 500th covid death. Last spring Kenney spent a fair bit of time telling Albertans not to worry too much because covid really only kills old people (somewhat oddly implying that made their deaths less tragic).

“The average age of death from COVID in Alberta is 83, and I’ll remind the house that the average life expectancy in the province is 82.”

Premier Jason Kenney said

Pretty clear message: old people die, this is just more old people dying so what’s the big whoop?

Except in November, that nonsense has been increasingly challenged by Albertans in their 30s dying from the disease. No pre-existing conditions. No other illnesses. Just covid and then dead.

Now, no government around the world – let alone in Canada – has been perfect in their response to the covid pandemic. But in a province with 1/3 the population of Ontario and 1/2 that of Quebec, Alberta’s per capita infection rate is 3.5x and 2.5x respectively.

And Kenney’s own cabinet ministers, are providing the only insight into the government’s thinking available.

One minister – Jason Luan – accidentally said the quiet part out loud last week:

“Our criteria is measured against our hospital capacity to handle ICUs and hospitalizations. We’re waiting to see where that threshold would be pushed to our limits, then gradually reduce more activities that way.”

Jason Luan, the associate minister of health and addictions said, after he was asked about Alberta’s potential for a lockdown.

Put another way, Luan is saying the provincial strategy is to wait for ICUs to be full and then maybe do something when it’s officially too late for hundreds – if not thousands – of Albertans because they’re dead.

Not to mention that in the same week that AHS (Alberta Health Services) announced they were more or less giving up on trying to trace the source new covid infections because they were overwhelmed and it was revealed that Alberta’s own tracing app was, ostensibly unuseable, the UCP House Leader was overheard in the Legislature referring to the “Trudeau tracing app” when asked why Alberta is one of only two provinces not using the Government of Canada app.

These are clearly not serious people and as a result they solutions to date have clearly not been serious either.

While some folks objected to the suggestion in my last post that Kenney is trying to kill people, with this week’s incredibly half-assed announcement, the comments of his own ministers, his own Judge Crater routine, comparisons to measures in other provinces with far better numbers and the steady rise in the provincial case count, I simply don’t know what other conclusion one could possibly reach.

So again, if Jason Kenney isn’t trying to kill Albertans, I have no fucking idea what’s going on in his head.