Posted on Jun 1, 2021
NDP DEMAND THAT THE UCP RELEASE INDEPENDENT REPORT ON HANDLING OF COVID-19 PANDEMIC
EDMONTON – As the province launches its first stage of reopening for the summer, Alberta’s NDP are demanding the UCP release the overdue third-party review into the Government's handling of the first wave of the pandemic.
The review was meant to help inform the province’s response to future waves of the pandemic. It was expected to be released in the fall of 2020 but then delayed until early 2021 with no exact release date promised.
“The Premier must stop hiding from accountability and release this review today,” said NDP Leader Rachel Notley. “The review was designed to help the government learn from the first wave and we’ve watched the UCP repeat the same mistakes over and over again with the second and third waves.
“Now, we’re starting a reopening plan, and Jason Kenney needs to assure Albertans that this plan will be executed properly and we won’t fall back into more restrictions because of his negligence. This review is a tool we need and it’s a measure of accountability that the UCP promised Albertans.”
A damning report released by Global News on the weekend found Alberta’s contact tracing system was significantly understaffed, despite Jason Kenney’s claims that it was “robust.”
When the Premier was asked about the contradictions between his statement and the report released about contact tracing, Jason Kenney claimed that Alberta Health Services briefed him with the wrong information.
“This kind of confusion generates an even greater need for the public to have access to this report or any future reports,” Notley said.
“Did the government have warnings on the need for robust contact tracing following the first wave?” What other advice did they ignore? The Premier went missing in the second wave as our case count soared and people died.
“In the third wave, we had the highest case count in all of North America. The big question is could all of this have been prevented if we’d had real leadership?”
Similar reports have been commissioned across the country to help Provinces inform and learn from their pandemic responses.
Ontario released a report on long-term care after the first wave that outlined progress and interim recommendations. Manitoba commissioned an independent review that was released in January 2021 that included 17 recommendations, which the province agreed to implement. Quebec released a number of reviews, including a systematic review, from The Health and Welfare Commissioner.
The Government originally announced in July 2020 that a third-party report would be commissioned, and in August the $475,000 contract was awarded to KPMG. The review has not been publicly released as of yet.