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

AlbertaCoronavirusJason KenneyJustin Trudeau

Just Posted

The City of Red Deer sits at 249 active cases of the virus, after hitting a peak of 565 active cases on Feb. 22. (Black Press file image)
Red Deer down to 119 active COVID-19 cases

Province identifies 179 new cases Saturday

Member Terry Parsons’ custom built track vehicle.
Forestburg’s Area 53 Racetrack gears up for action-packed season

Site will also host a portion of the ‘Miles of Mayhem’ event in July

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw reported five additional deaths Wednesday due to COVID-19. (File photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Red Deer at 169 active cases of COVID-19

Province set to move into Stage 2 of reopening Thursday

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

Denmark’s Christian Eriksen receives medical attention after collapsing during the Euro 2020 soccer championship group B match between Denmark and Finland at Parken stadium in Copenhagen, Saturday, June 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, Pool)
Christian Eriksen in stable condition, Euro 2020 match resumes

Eriksen was given chest compressions after collapsing on the field during a European Championship

As stories of the horrors of residential schools circulate after the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation announced it had located what are believed to be the remains of 215 children, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs said he feels a connection with the former students. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
2 sides of the same coin: Ex-foster kids identify with residential school survivors

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip says the child welfare system takes Indigenous children from their families

Airport ground crew offload a plane carrying just under 300,000 doses of the single-shot Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine which is developed by the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies at Pearson International Airport during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Wednesday, April 28, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
1st batch of Johnson & Johnson vaccines won’t be released in Canada over quality concerns

The vaccines were quarantined in April before they were distributed to provinces

Grade 12 students at Wetaskiwin Composite High School took place in the annual water fight off school property on June 11, 2021. Shaela Dansereau/ Pipestone Flyer.
Graduating students in Wetaskiwin throw water fight after being told it could result in suspension

Students were told their participation could result in them being barred from graduation ceremonies.

The arrest south of Winnipeg occurred before Bernier was to arrive at a protest in the city. (Twitter/Maxime Bernier)
Maxime Bernier arrested following anti-rules rallies in Manitoba: RCMP

He’s been charged with exceeding public gathering limits and violating Manitoba’s requirement to self-isolate

Most Read