Posted on Feb 11, 2021


EDMONTON - Premier Jason Kenney needs to remove Minister Jason Nixon from the government's COVID-19 Cabinet Committee following his assertion he would use his position to undermine the public health advice of Dr. Deena Hinshaw. 


Kenney also needs to answer for his failures to support small businesses following the claims of Angela Pitt that the failure of government programs to support small businesses was the reason she joined the extreme “End the Lockdown Caucus”.  


On Tuesday, it was revealed that Environment Minister Nixon told a local paper that he supported regional reopening and that he would “continue to push that to be put in place." This is despite scientifically based public health advice from Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw, who strongly asserted as recently as Tuesday, that switching to a regional reopening plan could increase “risk in those locations.”


“It is unacceptable to have someone at the table where the decisions on COVID are made actively undermining Dr. Hinshaw’s medical advice,” said David Shepherd, NDP Health Critic. “Jason Nixon has stated explicitly that he will use his position on that Committee to push an agenda that Dr. Hinshaw has said could increase risk and put lives at stake. Premier Kenney needs to remove Jason Nixon from this Committee and replace him with someone who understands and respects the science being presented.”   


On Wednesday, UCP MLA Angela Pitt claimed that the reason that she joined extremists who founded the Liberty Coalition’s End The Lockdown Caucus was in part because UCP led government programs did support small businesses.


“Angela Pitt is right about one thing,” said NDP Economic Development Critic Deron Bilous. “Her government, under Premier Kenney has failed Alberta small businesses.” 


In the recent months the NDP has proposed a number of measures to support and grow small businesses including:

  • A blanket 15% cap on fees changed to establishments like restaurants by third party delivery apps,
  • Immediately allow new small businesses access to the full $20,000 available through the Small and Medium Sized Business Relaunch Grant, and
  • Create rent subsidy and wage subsidy programs for new businesses who do not qualify for federal support.


“I haven’t heard a word of support for these common sense policies from MLA Pitt,” said Bilous. “Instead she had chosen to stand behind extreme anti-science, anti-medical theories that put lives and our economy at risk.”


Jason Kenney has repeatedly failed to discipline members of his caucus for making false claims, spreading misinformation, and undermining public health orders despite a commitment to Albertans to instill a new “culture of discipline.” On Wednesday, the Premier appeared to reverse course, claiming instead that he believed in a “wider latitude for [UCP] MLA’s to speak their minds.”


“Jason Kenney is more interested in trying to quash discontent within his own ranks than keeping Albertans safe,” said Shepherd. “Kenney claims to want to support the lives and livelihoods of Albertans, but if he continues to stand by the unscientific and dangerous views of Jason Nixon, Angela Pitt, and other UCP MLAs making reckless and erroneous claims about the pandemic, he’s actually putting those very lives at risk.