Premier Jason Kenney struck back at unruly protesters at the legislature, calling them “unhinged conspiracy theorists” after they called for Alberta’s chief medical officer to be jailed on Monday.
“Reasonable people can disagree about the best way to respond to the threat of this pandemic. But spreading misinformation, conspiracy theories and making threats is beyond the pale,” Kenney tweeted.
The premier was clearly unimpressed by tone of the noisy protest outside the Alberta Legislature in Edmonton on Monday afternoon.
“Today protesters at the legislature called for Dr. (Deena) Hinshaw to be ‘locked up.’ (They) are unhinged conspiracy theorists. Their words and actions are unacceptable,” Kenney stated through Twitter.
2/ They also chanted “just say no” to vaccines.
Albertans respect the freedoms of speech and protest. But breaking the law, trespassing, threats and intimidation go too far.
I condemn these actions and statements. It is increasingly clear that many involved in these protests
— Jason Kenney (@jkenney) April 12, 2021
“It is particularly offensive to threaten a committed public servant, like Dr. Hinshaw, a consummate professional who has offered the best possible health advice to government.
“I call on those responsible to stop the threats and law breaking, which is a disservice to their own cause.”
The large group that gathered at the Alberta Legislature Monday called for the government to cancel current COVID-19 restrictions, which were set back to Step 1 last week, with limited retail capacity and no indoor restaurant service.
The crowd chanted “freedom,” then borrowed a rallying cry that was first instigated by former U.S. president Donald Trump, chanting “lock her up” in relation to Hinshaw.
The crowd also protested against vaccines that prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Kenney tweeted that all eligible Albertans are encouraged to get vaccinated to keep everyone safe — but he said no one will be compelled to do so, even though the government could take on extraordinary powers during health emergencies.
“Today we are keeping this promise to remove the power of the government to force vaccinations that has existed in the Public Health Act since 1910,” he said on Twitter.