Posted on May 2, 2021


EDMONTON - Alberta’s NDP adamantly opposes Jason Kenney’s cowardly decision to flee the legislature while critical public health measures such as paid sick leave have not been enacted, and the government’s broader response flounders.


“The first item on the agenda for Monday must be an emergency debate on Jason Kenney’s failing pandemic response,” said NDP Leader Rachel Notley. “Alberta workers need paid sick leave, families need a Learn From Home Fund to support students online, our variant testing system needs immediate improvement, and our existing public health measures must be enforced. All this work is being left undone because Jason Kenney is afraid of public scrutiny.”


The abrupt decision to close the legislature follows a week of falsehoods, misleading statements and reversals from Kenney. On Wednesday, he claimed there is no relationship between public restrictions and viral spread, only to introduce modest new restrictions the following day. 


“The single most important measure we can take to keep sick people at home is to provide paid sick leave. It’s a gross dereliction of duty for Kenney to run away from the legislature without having provided this,” said NDP House Leader and Labour Critic Christina Gray. 


Despite three days of record cases, unprecedented numbers of Albertans in the hospital and the ICU, and the highest rate of infection in Canada and the US, Kenney’s government MLAs continue to vocally undermine public health measures with impunity. A large anti-mask event is underway in Bowden today, without any response from the government.


“Alberta needs real leadership at this moment of crisis, but instead Jason Kenney is abandoning his post. I can’t help but remember his boastful rhetoric this time last year, invoking the memories of the British parliament remaining in session through the Blitz,” Notley said. “The suggestion that the legislature cannot sit while servers are still working on patios and people are still crowding into malls is absurd. Now more than ever, Jason Kenney needs to show up to work.” 


“Alberta’s NDP is ready to get the job done. Kenney’s decision is not driven by public health concerns, but by sheer political cowardice.”