Alberta COVID-19 panel calls for more cabinet control in crises

By The Canadian Press

A panel reviewing Alberta’s COVID-19 response is calling for rule changes to ensure the premier and cabinet have the last word in future crises, with help from a new senior science officer.

Former Reform Party leader Preston Manning, who chaired the panel, says a senior science officer could create a roster of experts from medicine, social sciences, psychology and law to advise on decisions and their potential effects.

The report puts forward more than 90 recommendations on how Alberta can better prepare rules, regulations and its organizational structure to deal not just with future pandemics, but any emergency.

The core recommendation is that all provincewide emergencies are to be directed by cabinet and implemented through the Alberta Emergency Management Agency.

In future pandemics or health crises, Alberta Health Services would be called on to make recommendations related strictly to health matters, but government would make all decisions through the emergency agency.

The report urges the government to spell that out in new legislation.

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