Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a press conference in Ottawa on Tuesday, May 11, 2021. Trudeau is rejecting accusations from Alberta’s justice minister that his federal government is part of a trio rooting for that province’s health system to collapse due to COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Trudeau rejects Alberta cabinet minister accusation PM wants COVID-19 health disaster

Alberta has recently had COVID-19 case rates that are the highest in North America

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is rejecting an accusation from Alberta’s justice minister that the federal government is part of a trio wanting the province’s health system to collapse under the pressure of COVID-19.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, meanwhile, says he hasn’t seen the headline-making comments from cabinet minister Kaycee Madu.

Trudeau, speaking in Ottawa Tuesday, said: “It’s a shame to see people pointing fingers and laying blame and suggesting that anyone in Canada wants anything else than to get through this pandemic as safely as possible everywhere.

“Playing politics at this point is just not what Canadians want to see.”

Alberta has recently had COVID-19 case rates that are the highest in North America.

Trudeau noted he reached out to Premier Jason Kenney and Alberta’s big city mayors last week to offer further support if called upon.

“Every step of the way the federal government has been there to support Canadians, with $8 out of every $10 in pandemic support coming from the federal government,” said Trudeau.

“We will continue to work with all governments across this county to make sure we’re getting through this.”

Last week, Kenney introduced tighter public health restrictions. He warned that hospitals were otherwise on course to be overwhelmed in a matter of weeks.

Madu, in a Facebook post on Friday, wrote that the province can’t risk giving the COVID-19 virus a chance to “overwhelm our health-care system.

“That’s what the NDP, the media and the federal Liberals were looking for and want,” he wrote.

Madu was not made available for an interview, but his spokesman has said he stands by the remark.

Kenney, asked by reporters about Madu’s statement, said: “I haven’t seen those comments, but I believe … we shouldn’t be pointing fingers.

“COVID has caused us a lot of us at various times to say things we regret, and I just encourage everybody — whatever side of the political spectrum they’re on — to give each other a break right now.”

Opposition NDP Leader Rachel Notley said her caucus has pushed for Kenney’s government to enact rules and messaging to reduce the spread of the virus, while giving businesses financial aid to survive and workers support to allow them to isolate but still provide for their families.

“A minister of the Crown would be best served to listen to the proposals that are put forward by the Opposition as well as, heaven forbid, the critiques, because that is actually the way our system works,” said Notley.

She said Madu’s comments in the justice post are Kenney’s responsibility.

“You don’t tend to see that sort of incendiary, thoughtless messaging or tone from someone who takes on the role of justice minister,” she said.

Dr. Deena Hinshaw, the chief medical officer of health, reported 24,998 active COVID-19 cases. There are 705 people in hospital with the illness, 163 of them in intensive care — the highest since the pandemic began.

Kenney, after resisting calls for more health restrictions, acted a week ago. He closed schools and brought in sharper limits on businesses and worship services.

Kenney and his ministers have repeatedly accused Trudeau’s government of hamstringing the relief effort and, as late as April 29, Kenney blamed Alberta’s third wave on Ottawa for a slow vaccine rollout.

Also Tuesday, Hinshaw confirmed the province won’t give out more first doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine for the time being.

“Based on global supply challenges, we do not know when Canada, and in turn Alberta, will receive additional doses,” said Hinshaw.

There are 8,400 doses left, which will be used as second doses.

Hinshaw also said they will wait at least 12 weeks between AstraZeneca doses, given current research is showing that the interval delivers the best protection.

Alberta has administered more than 255,000 first doses of AstraZeneca.

Dean Bennett, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

AlbertaCoronavirusJason KenneyJustin Trudeau

Just Posted

Adrian Moyls is the Selkirk College Class of 2021 valedictorian and graduate of the School of Health and Human Services. Photo: Submitted
Selkirk College valedictorian proves mettle in accomplishment

Adrian Moyls is a graduate of the School of Health and Human Services

A report shows nine West Kootenay communities are have more low-income persons than the provincial average. File photo
Study casts new light on poverty in the West Kootenay

Nine communities in region have more low-income residents than provincial average

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Over 5K jabbed at Interior Health mobile COVID-19 vaccine clinics

The clinics have made stops in more than 40 communities since launching last week

The pilot of this single-engine propeller plane was unhurt after crash-landing in a Como Road orchard Friday, June 18. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Plane crash lands into Grand Forks orchard, pilot injured

RCMP have secured the crash site, pending investigation by Transport Canada

Author John Vaillant joins Lisa Moore and Fred Wah for Elephant Mountain Literary Festival’s Alumni Reading on Friday, July 9. All three authors were featured at the inaugural festival in 2012. Photo: Submitted
FESTIVAL TALES: When 2012 meets 2021

The Elephant Mountain Literary Festival will include authors from the event’s inaugural year

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

(Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Trutch Avenue in Chilliwack to be renamed to remove racist taint

New name to have Indigenous significance as Chilliwack takes new step toward reconciliation

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a joint news conference following the EU-Canada Summit, in Brussels, Belgium, Tuesday June 15, 2021. Trudeau says Canada is on track now to have 68 million doses delivered by the end of July, which is more than enough to fully vaccinate all 33.2 million Canadians over the age of 12. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine deliveries enough to fully vaccinate all eligible Canadians by end of July

Three in four eligible Canadians now have their first dose, nearly one in five fully vaccinated.

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases attributed to the highly contagious Delta variant grew in Canada this week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s public health agency reports spike in confirmed cases of Delta variant

More than 2,000 cases of the variant confirmed across all 10 provinces and in one territory

Bella Bella is on B.C.’s Central Coast, accessible only by air and ocean. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
B.C. provides $22 million for Heiltsuk development on Central Coast

Elders care home project, tourism, lumber mill supported

Most Read