With new variants spreading in Alberta, AFL calls on Kenney to reverse plan to ease pandemic restrictions

McGowan also challenges other leaders to advocate for a “zero-COVID” strategy

EDMONTON – In light of the alarming spread of new COVID variants in the province, the leader of Alberta’s largest worker organization is demanding that Premier Jason Kenney reverse his plan to ease pandemic restrictions.

In a strongly-worded letter to the Premier, Alberta Federation of Labour president Gil McGowan asks “Have we learned nothing from the first and second waves of the pandemic?”

“The consensus among experts is that you (Kenney) removed pandemic restrictions too soon in the spring. Instead of driving infection rates down to zero when you had the chance, you took your foot off the gas and allowed the virus to gain traction and get ahead of us again,” wrote McGowan.

“That led to the second wave in the fall (and a quadrupling of fatalities between November 2020 and January 2021). What’s happening today feels like déjà vu. You know what they say about doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

In his letter, McGowan included a graph produced last week by University of Calgary biologist, Dr. Gosia Gasperowicz – an analyst who has predicted the course of the pandemic in Alberta with eerie and uncanny accuracy.

McGowan told Kenney the graph “should scare the crap out of you.” Even without the easing of restrictions which began yesterday, it shows that the new, more dangerous #B117 strain would become the dominate strain of COVID in Alberta by March 4, 2021 and that new COVID infections would jump to 2,000 a day by April 3, 2021.

McGowan says it is “reckless and irresponsible” for Kenney to ease pandemic restrictions with the new #B117 variant spreading exponentially in the province.

McGowan also pledged that he would personally start promoting the idea of moving quickly to a zero-COVID strategy for Alberta. This is the strategy used to great effect in places like New Zealand, Australia and Canada’s own Atlantic provinces. McGowan is challenging leaders in other sectors and regions of the province to also start advocating for zero-COVID strategies in their circles.

“I know Kenney won’t listen to me, but his recent retreat on coal shows that he may have no choice but to listen to other Albertans if they push back in large enough numbers,” says McGowan. “With that in mind, I’m going to lead an effort to galvanize support for a zero-COVID strategy in my circles – and I’m going to challenge leaders in other sectors and regions of our province to do the same in their circles. Maybe together, for the sake of our province, we can force him to take the new variants more seriously and avoid repeating the mistakes of the past.”


Ramona Franson
Director of Communications, AFL
[email protected]