Red Deer South MLA Jason Stephan addressed the Rotary Club Red Deer East at Pidherney Curling Centre on Tuesday.
Photo by PAUL COWLEY/Advocate staff

Jason Stephan: Additional restrictions aimed at protecting hospital capacity

Following the advice of the chief medical officer, the government of Alberta announced additional public health restrictions Restrictions aimed at bending down the COVID curve to protect the capacity of Alberta’s hospitals, while also reducing collateral costs.

Restrictions impose costs – a loss of freedom and economic destruction, as well as long-term harms to mental, social and emotional health, including to children and young adults.

Lockdowns are not the better way

Lockdowns inflict greater economic harm on families and individuals in the private sector than those in the public sector, whose salaries or pensions are paid for by taxpayers.

Some of the loudest, sometimes contentious, voices calling for lockdowns will not lose a penny of pay, while those impacted may lose it all.

Lockdowns are destructive to local businesses whose owners and employees have complied with the rules, and some, through no fault of their own, have lost livelihoods prior to Christmas.

Can Alberta Health Services policies be better?

As protecting hospital capacity is the basis for restrictions, AHS policies impacting hospital capacity need extra scrutiny and accountability, especially in light of increasingly heavy costs of restrictions.

Here is one example – AHS policy can impact hospital capacity if it requires closure of an entire hospital unit if there is a case of COVID discovered in the unit, resulting in empty beds, yet reducing publicly stated hospital capacity. Likewise, collateral policies impacting scope and duration of any such closure also impact hospital capacity.

Given increasing heavy costs of restrictions, AHS policies need extra, objective, and accountable scrutiny for improvement as they impact COVID reporting to the public, and can make big impacts to hospital capacity, including decreasing it.

Moving through restrictions in better ways

As Alberta families and individuals choose in good faith to do small and simple things to reduce COVID, the collective result can be great, the COVID curve bent down.

That was true prior to the restrictions and it continues to the better way forward.

Restrictions should not be interpreted or used in a way that pits neighbor against neighbor, but rather seeking to act reasonably and respectfully in daily living.

The Christmas message is one of good tidings of great joy, of peace and goodwill towards all.

Many of our family members and neighbours are struggling, ourselves included. Striving to serve our families and neighbours in love during this special season helps us escape feelings of despair, anger, or loneliness, while blessing others who may be struggling with these feelings alongside of us.

Restrictions should not prevent us from serving and loving our neighbours, or from being kind and friendly towards each other, even if we must temporarily adjust our preferred ways of doing so.

Jason Stephan is Red Deer-South MLA.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Don and Gloria Moore, of Red Deer, are set to celebrate their 70th anniversary later this month. (Contributed photo)
Red Deer couple to celebrate 70th anniversary

Red Deer couple Don and Gloria Moore are set to celebrate their… Continue reading

Chris Scott, owner of The Whistle Stop Cafe, was put in handcuffs after an anti-restriction protest Saturday in the parking lot of the business. (Screenshot via The Whistle Stop Facebook page)
UPDATE: Central Alberta cafe owner arrested after anti-restriction protest

The owner of a central Alberta cafe, which was the site of… Continue reading

Alberta has 1,910 active cases of COVID-19 as of Wednesday. Red Deer is reporting five active cases, with 108 recovered. (File photo)
Red Deer now has 911 active COVID-19 cases

Central zone has 2,917 active cases

Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre's expansion project is still a high priority, says Alberta Infrastructure Minister Prasad Panda. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Red Deer hospital ICU admissions stable, but rising, says surgeon

The Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre’s intensive care unit is in better… Continue reading

FILE - A firefighter wears a mask as he drives his truck. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward, File
VIDEO: Flames rip through Edmonton-area seniors complex, but no fatalities

ST. ALBERT, Alta. — Fire has destroyed part of a retirement complex… Continue reading

A caribou grazes on Baffin Island in a 2008 file photo. A last-ditch attempt to save some of Canada's vanishing caribou herds is a step closer after a scientific review panel's approval of a plan to permanently pen some animals and breed them to repopulate other herds. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Kike Calvo via AP Images
Parks Canada captive caribou breeding proposal gets OK from scientific review panel

JASPER, Alta. — A last-ditch attempt to save some of Canada’s vanishing… Continue reading

The smouldering remains of houses in Slave Lake, Alta., are seen in a May 16, 2011, file photo. The wildfire that is devastating large swaths of the northern Alberta city of Fort McMurray comes just five years after another blaze destroyed 400 buildings and left 2,000 people homeless in Slave Lake, Alberta. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ian Jackson
Ten years later: Five things to know about the Slave Lake wildfire

A wildfire burned about one-third of Slave Lake in northern Alberta in… Continue reading

Edmonton Oilers' Connor McDavid (97) celebrates his 100th point this season with Leon Draisaitl (29) against the Vancouver Canucks during second period NHL action in Edmonton on Saturday, May 8, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid races to 100 points this NHL season

Edmonton Oilers forward Connor McDavid sprinted to a 100-point NHL season and… Continue reading

A Foodora courier is pictured as they pick up an order for delivery from a restaurant in Toronto, Thursday, Feb. 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Two-year EI review needed to buy time for needed tech upgrades, Qualtrough says

OTTAWA — Canada’s employment minister says a budgetary pledge for funding to… Continue reading

A person wears a face mask as they walk through McGill University during light snowfall in Montreal, Sunday, December 20, 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Some universities say no to proof of vaccination requirement

A COVID-19 vaccine likely won’t be a requirement to return to the… Continue reading

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland, participate in a virtual discussion with seniors from Residence Memphremagog in Magog, Que., from Ottawa on Monday, May 3, 2021. Liberals, Conservatives and New Democrats are on the move in advance of a potential election this year, recruiting candidates, training volunteers and grappling with how to kiss babies and press the flesh in a virtual, pandemic-restricted world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Grappling with how to press the virtual flesh, parties gear up for election showdown

OTTAWA — The three main national parties are firing up their election… Continue reading

Nuns of Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity, carry some of her relics during a vigil of prayer in preparation for the canonization of Mother Teresa in the St. John in Latheran Basilica at the Vatican, Friday, Sept. 2, 2016. In which city did she do much of her charitable work? (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
QUIZ: How much do you know about these motherhood issues?

In honour of Mother’s Day, take this 10-question quiz

Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia's chief medical officer of health, is setting off a social media reaction with his calls to stop non essential shopping, such as "buying sandals at Costco", with this photo of his worn sandals, which he published to social media on Saturday, May 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Dr. Robert Strang, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Nova Scotia’s top doctor sparks meme with caution on non-essential shopping

HALIFAX — Nova Scotia’s top doctor has launched a social media meme… Continue reading

Most Read