By Al Beeber on September 18, 2021.
With the start of a week off beginning Tuesday – I volunteered to help cover the federal election Monday – I was going to keep this column light and bright.
After all, we all need a break from the seriousness of life and as we know, I’m a guy who can crack a joke about almost anything.
But now is not the time for humour with rising COVID cases in Alberta which are overwhelming our healthcare system.
The reason the system is on the verge of collapsing is because people with COVID are filling ICU beds throughout the province.
The majority of these people haven’t been vaccinated. What does this tell us? That vaccines work, pure and simple, they work!
COVID is killing us and we need to fight back. That message was made abundantly clear this week while talking to a friend at the mailbox about the impact COVID is having on their family. One child has already dealt with it, and another who is attending a post-secondary education institute is at risk until vaccinations are made mandatory for all students.
This friend is sick to death, bad choice of words, about COVID and is fearful it will hit their family again.
This situation would be completely avoidable if people got their vaccinations. But instead, conspiracy theorists who believe the crap they read on social media are refusing to do the right thing for themselves, their family and the rest of us. They are destroying our healthcare system and killing innocent people. And they need to stop. The imbecilic anti-vaccination protests at hospitals and elsewhere need to stop. We need to get a grip on this pandemic.
On Wednesday, the premier of Alberta declared a State of Public Health Emergency to, in the government’s words, “protect the health care system.”
On Wednesday, we heard Premier Jason Kenney apologize for opening up the province in July, we heard Dr. Deena Hinshaw say they were wrong in doing so.
Their words have no value because this situation was totally preventable.
What Alberta has done, through a complete lack of leadership in government, is go on a two-month bender and now has woken up with a hangover that is leaving it virtually incapacitated.
There is no way the masking and other measures should have been lifted so soon. And no apologies can change that reality. It was horrible decision-making and showed terrible leadership.
Steps to ensure protection against COVID’s spread under the state of emergency include a requirement that people provide proof of vaccinations when entering establishments and events that opt-in to a program calling for that evidence to be shown.
In essence, this is a vaccine passport system that requires restaurant operators and others to agree to participate.
But this isn’t enough. The vaccine passport should be mandatory. And every restaurant, every sports organization, every concert venue, every indoor facility should be required to ask for proof of vaccination before letting people inside their doors.
I don’t always agree with the NDP, in fact I disagree a lot with them, but Rachel Notley, Shannon Phillips and everyone else in their party who is calling for vaccine passports to be implemented, is right.
And no, I haven’t drank the NDP Kool-aid if anyone wants to suggest that. This isn’t about politics, it’s about saving lives and our healthcare system! And the UCP has not done enough to save lives and the healthcare system.
Wednesday’s announcement was too little and too late and it was not aimed in the right direction.
Nathan Neudorf, our MLA for Lethbridge East, needs to show some leadership on this matter and stand up for the lives of not only his constituents but everyone in Lethbridge, by telling his boss we need mandatory vaccine passports.
What the government did on Wednesday is pure politicking. And what they are doing is making the majority of Albertans pay the price for the irresponsible inaction of a minority who refuse to be vaccinated, a minority who are killing themselves, others and others’ businesses and jobs.
The UCP needs to stand up for the majority of Albertans and take tougher action, instead of playing political games.
It’s time to stand up to the anti-vaxxers just like anyone with guts would stand up to schoolyard bullies.
We need to take this province back and fix our healthcare system.
We need to encourage doctors and nurses to stay in Alberta, not flee leaving many without personal physicians. We need to do the right thing.
And the right thing right now is for Jason Kenney and his party to stand up for and with his healthcare professionals and those of us who have been vaccinated.
He needs to do what’s right for the majority of Albertans instead of accommodating a radical minority. Everyone, not just UCP voters, have a stake in this matter.
Kenney needs to bring in those mandatory passports. Some would say he should resign if he doesn’t. But is there anyone in UCP leadership who can be trusted to follow a different path?
COVID is killing our province and our premier has the power to change that. He has the power to restore Albertans faith in government, he has the power to fix our healthcare system.
He needs to do both now!