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

Kaleb Robertson at bat during the 18UAAA North Island Cubs season opener against the Cowichan Valley Mustangs on June 19, 2021. Photo by Sean Feagan / Black Press Media.
PHOTOS: Minor baseball players and fans welcome return to play

18UAAA Cubs start regular season action after long wait with convincing win against Mustangs

Black Press file photo
RCMP seek suspect in Vancouver Island-wide crime spree

Crimes stretched from Deep Bay to Qualicum, Ladysmith, Chemainus and Youbou

New literacy framework will allow teachers to assess whether students have the necessary skills to become strong readers, and intervene early if they need help. Photo by Marissa Tiel/Campbell River Mirror
Campbell River school board creating new literacy framework

New plan aims to reverse declining literacy in SD72

Duncan Hurd says his fence has been smashed multiple times in the past month. Photo courtesy Duncan Hurd
Vandalism escalating in Campbell River neighbourhood, resident says

Neighbours want to see vandals ‘identified’

Kandi Kehler has just over two weeks left in her rental, but doesn’t know where she is going to go next. Photo by Marc Kitteringham / Campbell River Mirror
12 days left: Campbell River family at end of lease with nowhere else to go

Biggest fear coming to life for Campbell River mom

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

A portion of the George Road wildfire burns near Lytton, B.C. in this Friday, June 18, 2021 handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, BC Wildfire Service *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Blaze near Lytton spread across steep terrain, says BC Wildfire Service

Fire began Wednesday and is suspected to be human-caused, but remains under investigation

Blair Lebsack, owner of RGE RD restaurant, poses for a portrait in the dining room, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. Canadian restaurants are having to find ways to deal with the rising cost of food. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Canadian restaurateurs grapple with rising food costs, menu prices expected to rise

Restaurants are a low margin industry, so there’s not a lot of room to work in additional costs

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Fort St. John man arrested after allegedly inviting sexual touching from children

Two children reported the incident to a trusted adult right away

A Lotto 6/49 ticket purchased in Parksville for the June 19, 2021 draw is a $3M winner. (Submitted photo)
Winning Lotto 6/49 ticket worth $3M purchased on Vancouver Island

Lottery prize winners have 52 weeks to claim jackpot

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

Most Read