Posted on Nov 26, 2020


EDMONTON - Premier Jason Kenney revealed in an online discussion Wednesday that he buckled to pressure from his Caucus when deciding not to implement a provincial mask mandate and also suggested that implementing such a measure would lead some Albertans to stop wearing masks.

On his Facebook Live Wednesday night, Jason Kenney told his audience “A rural MLA in the Legislature told me the other day that he's noticed that in his local IGA people wearing masks, the percentage has gone up increasingly over the past few weeks to about 50 per cent now, it wasn't like that at all in the summer. But he said, a lot of these folks who are doing that now, they'd take it off the moment the government tells them to wear it.”

On Wednesday, the Alberta NDP called for the public release of all Cabinet recommendations from Chief Medical Officer of Health Deena Hinshaw following a marathon meeting this week that yielded some of the weakest measures to combat COVID-19 in Canada.

Shepherd said the Premier’s comments concerning the mask mandate were deeply troubling.

“This is further proof that Jason Kenney is ignoring public health advice and, by his own words, has reduced his leadership role to nothing during the greatest public health threat we’ve ever faced,” said NDP Health Critic David Shepherd.

“This Premier is fixated on placating fringe members of his party and he’s putting everyone else’s health at risk in the process.”

 Shepherd added, “What is the Premier going to suggest next? That we remove speed limits because lead-footed drivers might go over them?”

Throughout the pandemic UCP backbenchers have spread misinformation and conspiracy theories about the pandemic. Banff-Kananaskis MLA Miranda Rosin published a newsletter that claimed that the worst of COVID-19 is “behind us”. Lac Ste. Anne-Parkland MLA Shane Getson claimed that mask mandates were increasing the spread of COVID-19 in Calgary and Edmonton, and even suggested wearing a mask could be harmful. 

“Jason Kenney is not a leader,” said Shepherd. “A real leader would have implemented a mask mandate just like every other province in the country has.”

Notley and Shepherd are due to speak later Thursday about secret recordings that provide further evidence that Jason Kenney is openly defying advice from Deena Hinshaw to slow the spread of COVID-19.