Bell: Kenney faces heat, not off the hook on COVID

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He was once cast as our knight in shining armour coming to our political rescue.


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Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

He’s not out of the woods. Not yet.

He gambles with COVID-19, we lose and many of his backers wonder how much longer they can hang in hoping for the bossman to get his act together.

Premier Jason Kenney, with all his shuckin’ and jivin’ and drive-by apologies that aren’t apologies and explanations that don’t really explain, isn’t turning down the temperature on the home front.

You hear from those inside Kenney’s United Conservative tent.

Members of the legislature, the dedicated among the party faithful.

There is talk. So far it’s still talk but talk could turn to action.

There are those who believe Premier Jason Kenney should be gone.

There are those who feel he should resign, go away, not let the door hit him on the way out.


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There are those who feel his political career deserves to be over.

There are those who no longer have confidence in the premier.

There are those who think it is tough to sell anything with Kenney’s name attached to it.

There are those who want to distance the party from the premier.

They believe the premier is listening only to himself. They believe the man is set in his ways and is incapable of changing. He is doomed to be himself.

It is quite the revelation and no one but no one in his inner circle has reached out to paint a prettier picture and tell their side of the story.

Phone lines are open.

Yes, Kenney’s performance at Wednesday’s press conference did not turn the tide.

Seeing folks fed up with Kenney is not surprising.


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Kenney is the least popular premier in the country. His handling of COVID is the least popular among premiers. The NDP are ahead of the Kenney-led UCP in the polls by more than a few points.

The Best Summer Ever, the plan to fuel Kenney’s comeback, was an all-in bet and has backfired.

Alberta and COVID and Kenney are a national story with a few days left in the federal election.

We are seen as a basket case. We are asking other provinces for help.

On Thursday, we are told once again of the ICUs in Alberta being under “extreme pressure” even after more beds are added.

The Alberta Children’s Hospital plans to close three out of four operating rooms by next week.

What’s hitting us is worse than the dark days of the Christmas lockdown and we have most people fully vaccinated.


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Kenney is seen as an albatross around the neck of federal Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole.

Some believe attempts to link O’Toole with Kenney’s COVID screwup could score points for Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau in the election sprint to the finish.

Then, there are rumblings next week should be circled on the calendar.

It may come to nothing. It may come to something.

Kenney can hope, as usual, the people making the noise will forget where their backbone is located and fall into line.

For anyone with a gripe, it’s fish or cut bait time. Put up or shut up.

For those on the outside looking in, some of us want answers.

How the hell did we end up here?

What happened between last month and this month?

Did Dr. Deena Hinshaw advise decisive action earlier than this week? Did she propose a vaccine passport? When?


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Hinshaw appears to the press on Thursday to answer questions.

For the record, this columnist did not get a question. For the record, this columnist is not surprised.

I wanted to know who dropped the ball in August when we needed the Kenney government to step up to the plate.

I was directed to Hinshaw’s answer to a similar question on Wednesday night, when Kenney announced the vaccine passport and restrictions.

On that night, Hinshaw said what recommendations came forward and when they came forward is confidential.

Thanks a bunch.

Then there’s Calgary UCP member of the legislature Richard Gotfried, who says he pushed for action and is “gutted” by his own government’s lack of response to “clear warning signs.”

Gotfried adds “the words never, passport and open for good may go down in embarrassment and infamy.”

They will. They will.

Then the kicker.

Gotfried says the Kenney government clearly had 30 days’ notice of a crisis looming and “nothing was done while we lacked any leadership at the helm.”