Alberta Premier Rachel Notley speaks to cabinet members in Edmonton on Monday December 3, 2018. Premier Rachel Notley is taking aim at Opposition Leader Jason Kenney’s promise to rein in spending, saying even a failure to fund population growth will have profound and harmful consequences.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley speaks to cabinet members in Edmonton on Monday December 3, 2018. Premier Rachel Notley is taking aim at Opposition Leader Jason Kenney’s promise to rein in spending, saying even a failure to fund population growth will have profound and harmful consequences.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

NDP leader worried province’s reopening plan moving too fast

Alberta is ahead of other provinces in reopening timetable

NDP Leader Rachel Notley is concerned that Premier Jason Kenney is moving too fast on his reopening plan.

“I know many people are looking forward to a time without restrictions, without masks, and without the stresses of the pandemic weighing on all of us. I am one of those people,” said Notley in a statement on Wednesday.

“But I am concerned about the pace of this reopening plan, given that we had the highest rate of infection of anywhere in Canada or the U.S. earlier this very month,” said Notley. “I have questions about how the premier decided on this pace, and whether it was informed by science, or simply by working backwards from the first day of the Calgary Stampede.”

The plan will lift all restrictions by early July, months ahead of other provinces. The first phase is triggered in part by a 50 per cent vaccination rate, while other provinces are waiting for 60 or 70 per cent. Similarly, other provinces wait three weeks after hitting key thresholds before moving to the next step, whereas the UCP plan only has two weeks between steps.

In Ontario’s best-case scenario, indoor dining with restrictions won’t open until July 22, but in Alberta that happens as early as July 1 with no restrictions.

In Quebec, outdoor festivals and fairs with more than 2,500 people won’t happen until the end of August, or until 75 per cent of Quebecers have their second dose.

Meanwhile, major fairs in Alberta with potentially more than 100,000 people will open two months earlier with no restrictions.

“Jason Kenney has downplayed the risk of COVID, he has ignored warnings, he failed to act for weeks on end when the danger was obvious, and he failed to enforce the rules until the violations became international news,” Notley said.

“I hope this plan does not continue Jason Kenney’s pattern of failure to responsibly manage Alberta’s pandemic response.”



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