Posted on Jan 12, 2021


EDMONTON - Premier Jason Kenney should support Alberta’s energy sector by diverting the $30-million annual budget of his failed war room into encouraging Albertans to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

A recent Angus Reid Poll suggests as many as one in five Albertans currently plan to refuse the vaccine, the highest number in Canada.

“There’s an alarmingly high number of Albertans who aren’t convinced about the effectiveness and safety of the vaccine yet, and the government needs to take that problem very seriously,” said David Shepherd, NDP Critic for Health. “This is possibly the most important communications exercise in the history of our province, and it needs significant resources to succeed.

“Jason Kenney is wasting $82,000 of taxpayers’ money every single day on his failed war room. He should scrap it immediately, and use that money to promote widespread vaccination,” Shepherd said.

The Government of Alberta released a public awareness campaign before Christmas, COVID Loves, encouraging people to cancel parties and family gatherings over the holidays. That campaign cost $2 million.

“Effective communications campaigns cost real money,” Shepherd said. “Albertans really need the vaccine promotion campaign to be effective. Jason Kenney can save millions of dollars in new cost to taxpayers simply by admitting what everyone already knows - the war room has no credibility, no audience, and isn’t creating any value for the energy sector.

“The single biggest boost we can give our energy sector is to safely re-open our economy and keep it open. The more Albertans are vaccinated, the sooner we can all get back to work.”