The chair of a $2 million taxpayer-funded report on Alberta’s COVID-19 response says Conservative MPs will use his findings as a political bludgeon in the next federal election. suggested that.
Former Reform Party leader Preston Manning last week released more than 90 recommendations to improve the Alberta government’s response to future public emergencies.
On Monday, Calgary Liberal MP George Chahal sent a copy of an email Manning appears to have sent to 20 Alberta MPs on Nov. 15 to share the findings with (was posted).
“If the Liberal-NDP coalition government’s response to the 2020-2023 coronavirus crisis becomes an election issue in 2024, this report could contain content that could be used by the Chinese Communist Party. ” [Conservative Party of Canada] ‘To tell us what we should have done to address the coronavirus crisis and what we should have done to address future public emergencies,’ Manning’s email said. has been written.
“Some of its content may also serve to attack the Liberal-National Democratic Party coalition’s record in this area.”
Manning’s letter also says Alberta MLAs will have access to federal support in promoting and implementing the recommendations from the commission’s report.
A spokesperson for Mr. Manning confirmed Monday that he sent the email.
“The Public Health Emergency Governance Review Panel is a bipartisan panel tasked with providing advice to the Government of Alberta to improve Alberta’s response to future public health emergencies,” Manning told CBC News. said in an emailed statement.
“After our work was completed, I contacted politicians via personal email and urged them to consider our proposal.”
Manning, who has been critical of many governments’ responses to COVID-19 and the impact public health restrictions have had on personal freedoms, has been criticized by Alberta for his role as chair of the six-person committee. He was paid $253,000 by the government.
In an unrelated news conference Monday, Alberta Premier Daniel Smith said there was nothing wrong with Manning sending the work from his personal email address to like-minded contacts.
“There’s good information in that report,” Smith said, adding that he was not surprised that he wanted to share it with decision-makers at other levels of government.
Mr Smith said the panel members acted independently of the United Conservative Party government.
Opposition parties claim email reveals committee’s purpose
Alberta NDP Leader Rachel Notley said Manning’s letter shows the committee’s consideration of Alberta’s bill was never in the public interest.
“He was not the objective, thoughtful person who justified the appointments he received to do important work. Many Albertans are disappointed that they did not receive input from him.” I think so,” Notley said of Manning.
Opposition leaders say many of the recommendations in the report, if adopted, could force the government to consider options that are not supported by evidence, putting Albertans’ safety at risk. .
“This is a continuation of Daniel Smith’s pattern of belief that taxpayer money is for partisan political campaigns.”
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In a report released last Wednesday, the Public Health Emergency Governance Review Committee urged the government to amend the Alberta Bill of Rights to strengthen individual freedoms when a public emergency is declared. Recommended.
Panel members also recommended that Alberta Emergency Management be tasked with leading the government’s response to public emergencies, with direction from the premier and cabinet.
Currently, the Public Health Act places responsibility on the Chief Medical Officer of Health (CMOH) to lead the response to public health emergencies.
The government has already introduced legislation that would give politicians, rather than the CMOH, the final say on public health measures in emergencies.
The committee also recommended rejecting statewide school closures as an emergency option, with rare exceptions.
On Monday, the Prime Minister said Cabinet and a group of MPs were still considering the report and its recommendations.
He pointed to the panel’s recommendations to give politicians more voice, including MLAs discussing decisions to declare a state of emergency and cabinet oversight of emergency orders.
“They’re proposing some changes along those lines, so don’t be surprised if we move in that direction,” Smith said.