Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a press conference in Ottawa on Tuesday, May 11, 2021. Trudeau is rejecting accusations from Alberta’s justice minister that his federal government is part of a trio rooting for that province’s health system to collapse due to COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a press conference in Ottawa on Tuesday, May 11, 2021. Trudeau is rejecting accusations from Alberta’s justice minister that his federal government is part of a trio rooting for that province’s health system to collapse due to COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Alberta justice minister sorry for saying feds, others rooting for COVID disaster

Earlier Tuesday, prior to Madu’s apology, Trudeau rejected the accusations

Alberta’s justice minister says he was wrong to accuse Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government, Alberta’s Opposition N-D-P, and the media of rooting for COVID-19 to buckle his province’s health system.

“I would like to offer an apology for my recent comments on my personal Facebook account,” Kaycee Madu wrote on Twitter Tuesday night.

“Alberta is facing an unprecedented public health crisis. My comments were wrong, as all Canadians want this global pandemic to end as soon as possible.

“I fully support the premier’s recent call to avoid the divisive political rhetoric during what we all hope is the final period of this pandemic and will continue the important work of government in protecting Albertans from this virus.”

The apology came a day after Madu’s spokesman, Blaise Boehmer, told reporters in a statement that Madu was standing by his accusations, adding, “The minister won’t apologize for stating the obvious.”

Earlier Tuesday, prior to Madu’s apology, Trudeau rejected the accusations.

“It’s a shame to see people pointing fingers and laying blame and suggesting that anyone in Canada wants anything else than to get through this pandemic as safely as possible everywhere,” Trudeau said in Ottawa.

Premier Jason Kenney, also asked about Madu’s comments prior to the apology, said he hadn’t seen them but said, “COVID has caused us a lot of us at various times to say things we regret, and I just encourage everybody — whatever side of the political spectrum they’re on — to give each other a break right now.”

Trudeau noted he reached out to Kenney and Alberta’s big city mayors last week to offer further support if called upon. Kenney declined the offer.

“Every step of the way the federal government has been there to support Canadians, with $8 out of every $10 in pandemic support coming from the federal government,” said Trudeau.

The issues of blame and responsibility have recently been at the centre of debate in Alberta. Kenney’s government has been criticized for waiting weeks to respond with tighter health restrictions to the current third wave that now threatens to overrun the health system if left unchecked.

Alberta has recently had COVID-19 case rates that are the highest in North America.

Kenney acted with renewed rules a week ago, closing schools and introducing sharper limits on businesses and worship services.

He also stressed now is not the time to lay blame. Prior to that, Kenney and his ministers had repeatedly accused Trudeau’s government of hamstringing the relief effort with a slow vaccine rollout. As late as April 29, Kenney blamed Alberta’s entire third wave on Ottawa.

Last Friday, Madu, in a Facebook post, wrote that the province couldn’t risk giving the COVID-19 virus a chance to “overwhelm our health-care system.

“That’s what the NDP, the media and the federal Liberals were looking for and want,” he wrote.

NDP Leader Rachel Notley said her caucus has done its job as the Official Opposition.

She said they’ve pushed Kenney’s government to enact rules to reduce the spread of the virus, while giving businesses financial aid to survive and workers support to allow them to isolate but still provide for their families.

Notley added, “You don’t tend to see that sort of incendiary, thoughtless messaging or tone from someone who takes on the role of justice minister.”

Dr. Deena Hinshaw, the chief medical officer of health, reported 24,998 active COVID-19 cases Tuesday. There are 705 people in hospital with the illness, 163 of them in intensive care — the highest since the pandemic began.

Hinshaw confirmed the province won’t give out more first doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine for the time being.

“Based on global supply challenges, we do not know when Canada, and in turn Alberta, will receive additional doses,” said Hinshaw.

There are 8,400 doses left, which will be used for second shots.

Hinshaw also said they will wait at least 12 weeks between AstraZeneca doses, given current research is showing that the interval delivers the best protection.

Alberta has administered more than 255,000 first doses of AstraZeneca.

Dean Bennett, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

AlbertaCoronavirusJason KenneyJustin Trudeau

Just Posted

A concept rendering of the proposed seven-unit, two-storey development at 1129 Riverside Ave. in Sicamous. (District of Sicamous graphic)
Proposed luxury development in Sicamous sparks parking concerns

Seven-unit commercial-residential building planned for Riverside Avenue

The Shaw Centre and the SASCU Recreation Centre are the two largest producers of greenhouse gas emissions on City of Salmon Arm properties. (Martha Wickett-Salmon Arm Observer)
City of Salmon staff surprised COVID not cause of drop in greenhouse gas emissions

2020 sees emissions on city-owned properties decrease well below 2019 totals

Shuswap Litas and Son of Stomp head out from uptown Askew’s parking lot on Thursday, June 10, some with teddy bears and stuffies, to ride to Pierre’s Point by Adams Lake community hall to show their support for band members in the wake of the confirmation of 215 children buried at the site of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School. (Martha Wickett - Salmon Arm Observer)
Shuswap bike clubs ride to support Indigenous communities

Motorcyclists go to Pierre’s Point in solidarity with bands in wake of residential school findings

Interior Health is offering mobile vaccination clinics for the first dose only of COVID-19 vaccine in the Shuswap from June 15 to June 19h. (Interior Health image)
First-dose vaccinations for COVID-19 offered via mobile clinics in Shuswap

Clinic in Salmon Arm scheduled for June 15, other clinics in Sorrento, Malakwa, Chase

The price per litre of regular gasoline was at 145.9 cents at several gas stations in downtown Salmon Arm on June 11, 2021. (Zachary Roman - Salmon Arm Observer)
Gas prices pumped up in Salmon Arm and Sicamous

Price spikes from 131.9 to as high as 145.9 cents per litre

Dr. Albert de Villiers, chief medical health officer for the Interior Health Authority. (Contributed)
Black Press Media Weekly Roundup: Top headlines this week

Here’s a summary of this week’s biggest stories from the Okanagan-Shuswap

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of June 13 to 19

Flag Day, Garbage Man Day, International Panic Day all coming up this week

57-year-old Kathleen Richardson was discovered deceased in her home Wednesday, June 9, 2021. Her death is considered a homicide and connected to the slain brothers found on a Naramata forest road. (Submitted)
Naramata community in shock as condolences pour in for homicide victim Kathy Richardson

Richardson was well liked in the community, a volunteer firefighter with a home-based salon

British Columbia-Yukon Community News Association’s 2021 Ma Murray Awards were handed out during a virtual ceremony on Friday, June 10. (Screen grab)
Black Press Media winners take gold at B.C. and Yukon journalism awards

Publications received nods in dozens of categories

Princeton GSAR responds 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. In 2020 the crew was called out 34 times, and members spent 721 hours on calls, and 683 hours training. Photo Princeton GSAR Facebook
Teen missing in Manning Park found after 24 hours

Young man spends night on mountain and survives with just a few scrapes

The RCMP are asking for assistance regarding the death of Kathleen Richardson of Naramata, pictured here. Her death is believed to be related to two homicides in Naramata in May. (RCMP)
Police identify South Okanagan homicide victim as 57-year-old Naramata woman

57-year-old Kathleen Richardson was discovered deceased in her home Wednesday

Two e-scooters parked on the sidewalk along Water Street in downtown Kelowna on Monday, May 3. Scooters parked on walkways are causing accessibility issues for some people with disabilities. (Michael Rodriguez/Capital News)
Kelowna General Hospital clinicians observe increase in e-scooter injuries

A report is set to go to city council next week on how the e-scooter pilot has gone thus far

Fair-goers take a ride at the 120th annual Armstrong Interior Provincial Exhibition and Stampede Aug. 28-Sept. 1, 2019. (Katherine Peters - Morning Star)
Armstrong’s IPE not eligible for COVID-19 grant designed for major attractions

Shuswap MLA Greg Kyllo criticized the rigidity of the provincial program’s criteria

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets campers while visiting McDougall, Ont. on Thursday, July 19, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
71% of B.C. men say they’d prefer to go camping with Trudeau: survey

Most British Columbians with plans to go camping outdoors say they’d prefer to go with Trudeau or Shania Twain

Most Read