The regional municipality of Wood Buffalo—the north-eastern chunk of Alberta containing Fort Mac—has declared a state of local emergency.
There’s only one hospital in Fort McMurray and its ICU is already full. The schools are all closed. The virus is ripping through the ‘man camps’ in the area where oil sands workers live; over a dozen work camps in the RMWB are reporting outbreaks.
It’s the worst hotspot in Alberta, with a rate of over 1300 cases per hundred thousand people. And Alberta itself is the worst spot in the country. At over 450 cases per hundred thousand, Alberta is even worse than Ontario, where Doug Ford has already taken the desperate step of calling in the military to work at hospitals.
But the emerging crisis in Fort Mac isn’t prompting any big reaction from the Alberta government. You might get the impression from them that this whole situation is comfortably under control. The Premier declared on Monday that safety measures around long term care homes would soon be relaxed.
It appears that the UCP administration’s plan is to let vaccines sort everything out. That’s a dangerous strategy. At the rate Alberta is presently vaccinating folks (a rate that lags slightly behind the national average, but not by too far) we won’t reach the point of three quarters of the province being fully vaccinated for two months, until the end of June.
Health Canada information in graph form by Trevor Tombe
- The Alberta NDP absolutely demolished the UCP in fundraising this quarter. You really do love to see it.
Following up on Jeremy Appel’s report on W. Brett Wilson’s orphan wells, this week on the pod Duncan chats with Appel and also interviews Julia Levin, of Environmental Defense, about her recent report on the billions of dollars of federal subsidies that Canada is still giving to fossil fuel companies.
So much for parks being somewhere you could take the kids for summer when you’re broke: the UCP administration is bringing in a $90 access fee for Kananaskis Country. An ‘issues manager’ for the Premier assured folks online that these fees would go to maintaining the parks, but budget documents say otherwise: 40% of these fees are destined for general revenues, to be spent on whatever the UCP feels like.
After numerous sidewalk-chalk protests outside Education Minister Adriana LaGrange’s office, her staff have posted a sign threatening would-be chalkers with legal consequences. One problem with that: chalking a public sidewalk is not actually a crime.
- The UCP are introducing legislation that would make operators of private long-term care facilities immune from lawsuits relating to COVID deaths that they chose to allow. Writing for The Sprawl, Jeremy Appel (this guy sure gets around!) explains how UCP-connected lobbyists secured this big win for Revera, Chartwell and the other corporate ghouls.
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