Alberta Mayors Demand Government Tightens Vaccine Passports, School Masking
A dozen Edmonton-area mayors are urging the provincial government to be a leader in tackling the surge of COVID-19 cases in Alberta by adopting both a vaccine passport and mandatory masking in schools.
City leaders, including Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson, Strathcona County Mayor Rod Frank and St. Albert Mayor Cathy Heron, expressed their concerns in a letter to Alberta Health Minister Tyler Shandro.
While measures like a province-wide masking mandate are a start, mayors say the Alberta government needs to do much more, without shifting that responsibility onto municipalities and school boards.
“Together, we currently have the most citizens in hospital and in intensive care,” the letter said. “These citizens, their loved ones and a rapidly growing majority of our community members look to you to develop public policy that helps protect people and to show leadership in these difficult times.
“Residents should not expect city councils to take on the development and responsibilities of public health policies.
The mayors of Beaumont, Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Devon, Parkland County, Morinville, Leduc, Sturgeon County and Leduc County also sign the letter.
All these municipalities are in areas represented by UCP deputies.
The Alberta government is considering adding a QR code to online health records that people can print out if they want scannable proof of their immunization status.
But Premier Jason Kenney has resisted calls to implement rules restricting entry to non-essential businesses, such as restaurants, theaters and gyms, to fully vaccinated Albertans.
Iveson said leaders were on a video conference last week to discuss the need for a regional approach. He said everyone was on the same page on how the province handled the fourth wave of COVID-19.
Angry at government unloading
“I’ve never seen this bunch of people, who are pretty cool customers, as angry as I’ve seen them about what’s going on in Alberta – in the sense that once again local governments were going to have to intervene breach, “he said.
“It should be a wake-up call.”
Stony Plain Mayor William Choy is also calling on the government to share local COVID-19 data.
He said political considerations should not guide decisions about COVID-19.
“This is what is best for the public safety of our residents,” he told CBC News.
“We need to stop playing politics with the health of all Albertans.”
CBC News is still awaiting a response from the government on the Mayors’ Letter.