Anti-vax protesters do NOT speak for Alberta frontline workers

Statement from AFL president Gil McGowan on anti-vax protests at Alberta hospitals

EDMONTON - The following statement was released this morning by Gil McGowan, president of the Alberta Federation of Labour. The AFL is Alberta’s largest worker group, representing 175,000 unionized Alberta workers, including nurses, paramedics, firefighters and other workers at the front line of the pandemic.

“Later today, another round of anti-vax demonstrations will be held outside hospitals across Canada, including hospitals in Edmonton and Calgary. These demonstrations are being orchestrated by a small group that purports to represent frontline health care and public safety workers.

“On behalf of all the unions affiliated with the Alberta Federation of Labour and our 175,000 members, I want to make it very clear that these selfish, angry and misinformed people do NOT in any shape or form represent the thousands of nurses, paramedics, fire fighters or any of the other frontline workers who have been working so hard over the past 19 months to keep Albertans safe during the pandemic.

“Our unions and our members are firmly in support of masking and vaccination as key tools to eliminate the spread of Covid. We support the right of all Canadians to protest, but we are horrified that these people would choose to protest outside hospitals, where health care workers are struggling physically and psychologically to cope with a fourth wave that is threatening to overwhelm our health care system.

“We are also angry about the anguish that these protests will add to the emotional distress already being felt by patients and families in hospital, many of whom are already experiencing some of the most difficult days of their lives. If these people want to protest government decisions, they should protest where the government makes those decisions, at the Legislature, not at hospitals.

“As a labour movement, we will continue to support our frontline colleagues – and that means calling for more public health measures during the fourth wave, not fewer. If there’s anything that Albertans should be angry about, it’s that our provincial government has done too little to protect us during the pandemic, not too much.”

AFL President Gil McGowan
September 13, 2021


Ramona Franson
Director of Communications, AFL
[email protected]

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