Open Letter to the United Conservative Party Caucus

Last week, the Premier made it very clear that we must “Stop theSpike” of COVID-19 cases in Alberta. New measures imposed were met with a wide variety of responses throughout the province. We can and should have robust policy debates—elected officials at all levels have been far from perfect in addressing this pandemic. But now is not the time to play the blame game. It can wait until after we have contained the pandemic and restored some semblance of normalcy. 

 

That being said, I am disgusted and embarrassed by the conduct of members who continually undermine their own government. Scientific evidence has been clear for some time now. Mask wearing, physical distancing, and vaccinations will allow us to overcome the pandemic. There is a not-so-fringe minority in this province who deny this science. Some happen to be members of the government. Regardless, elected officials in government have a moral responsibility not to undermine their leadership in a time of crisis. From questioning initial scientific recommendations, travelling over the holidays, public opposition to partial lockdowns, failing to tamp down on vaccine hesitancy, and general opposition to public health regulations (ostensibly in the name of freedom), failure to collectively lead by example has facilitated some of the highest infection rates in North America.  

 

I want to address Minister Kaycee Madu’s recent comments onFacebook. I have disagreed with his use of language in the past, specifically how he has mischaracterized his political opponents. This inclination reflects an inability to set politics aside for the wellbeing of all Albertans. AnOpposition exists to hold a government accountable and ideally to a higher standard. The media plays a similar role and provides an external accounting of the facts. McCarthyism was repudiated in the 1950s, but its tendencies linger.Where he sees enemies salivating at his government’s failure, I see Albertans bruised and broken by a brutal pandemic, pleading for their leaders to be better. Apologies matter and I thank the Minister for walking back his remarks.I hope no more apologies are needed. 

 

Finally, I want to speak to Albertans, all of whom have made immense sacrifices, particularly those I represent in the Northeast who have worked diligently on the frontline and suffered disproportionately. I implore you to continue following Alberta Health mandates and recommendations, including wearing a mask, maintaining physical distance, and getting vaccinated. When this is over, we will judge our leaders by how they handled their duties. For now, with or without leadership from our elected officials, we must persevere. 

George Chahal

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