Disastrous miscalculation: Premier and health officer under fire during COVID update

CALGARY (CityNews) – The premier, health minister, and chief medical officer of health came under fire from media during the province’s health update Wednesday when they apologized for a gross misinterpretation of where the pandemic was headed.

The government eliminated the majority of public health restrictions in June before the summer got underway, pushing forward with its “Open For Summer” plan. At the time, Kenney promised the coming summer would be the “best ever.”

But the fourth wave has been disastrous for Albertans.

Due to how many Albertans feel the provincial government has handled the pandemic, calls for Jason Kenney, Tyler Shandro, and Dr. Deena Hinshaw to step down from their respective roles have increased exponentially.

RELATED: Political scientist questions why Alberta’s COVID leaders haven’t resigned

Here are some questions the leaders were asked by reporters on Wednesday:

What consequences will there be for the government’s disastrous miscalculation towards reopening?

“Our focus is not on politics, our focus is on results to address the emerging crisis in our healthcare system. There will [be] plenty of time when we get past the COVID crisis to do a full retrospective and the lessons learned,” responded the premier.

“When we get past the COVID crisis to do a full retrospective and the lessons learned.”

When hospitals are full and many are warning of a crisis on the way, why does the government ignore those warnings and fail to learn from previous mistakes in the pandemic?

“I’ve always been clear that we treated restrictions as a last and limited resort because we acknowledge that there’s not just one health risk we saw last year,” said Kenney after mentioning the province’s fatality rate was lower than Canada’s, America’s, and Europe’s.

The premier did, however, state the province has seen the highest number of opiate overdose deaths.

RELATED: Frustrated doctor says it was easy to predict the fourth wave of COVID-19

“Well over 1,000 deaths. Undoubtedly, much of that was connected to the COVID response. We have seen, as you know, growing evidence of a mental and emotional health crisis, emanating from the COVID response.”

Almost 2,495 people have died now. Are you going to vacate your role after what you’ve admitted was a disastrous miscalculation?

“What I told my colleagues earlier this week was just like when I was treating elderly patients who had complex medical conditions, where when you treated one condition you could cause another condition to become worse,” explained Hinshaw.

“I care about all of the conditions of my patients, the population of Alberta, and I have always looked at all of the health outcomes that Albertans have and done my best to provide information and recommendations based on what I thought was the best thing for the overall health of the province.”

Hinshaw added the province made the move to remove restrictions based on data Alberta, B.C., and Saskatchewan were getting from the U.K.


“All of us believed that we would see a decoupling, similar to what we’re seeing in the U.K. I have continued to adjust recommendations as I’ve gone along, and I continue to offer my services to Albertans as I am deeply, deeply committed to the overall health of the entire province,” Hinshaw said.

“Dr. Hinshaw has my full confidence and … you’ve been very fortunate to have a thoughtful and dispassionate chief medical officer who’s taking a balanced approach,” said the premier as the question of the chief medical officer of health’s resignation was directed to him.

“I appreciate that the advice that we received.”

What can be said about your [the premier’s] leadership as many Albertans are unhappy with how the province has managed the pandemic since reopening in July?

“I don’t think this is about me I think this is about protecting our hospitals, and we have to do what is necessary to do so.

“We were wrong in talking about moving this from pandemic management to endemic management in July and August,” responded Kenney.

The premier added the government can’t permanently intrude on people’s daily lives, saying the province wasn’t wrong to lift restrictions.

“We actually saw that case counts and even the Delta variant continue to stabilize and even come down through most of July, even after large public events.


“So, no, I don’t apologize for the decision to relax public health restrictions in the summer.”

Kenney then redirected his answer to note that he’s been trying to keep the morale of Albertans up through the pandemic, which led to the province’s “optimistic” summer reopening.

“We have on one side, people who have been advocates of hard, permanent blocks, lockdown-style policies, but I think the vast majority of Albertans will not tolerate. On the other side of the spectrum, we have people who believe COVID isn’t real, or that threat is massively exaggerated, and that’s probably not the case either.

“What matters is that we face the challenge head-on, as it emerges, that’s what we’re doing now.”

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