Locals plastered posters of protest on Morinville-St. Albert MLA Dale Nally’s office windows this weekend.
On Saturday, Oct. 9, people across the province took part in “No Thanks Given,” a protest organized by the Alberta Federation of Labour with the purpose of sending a message to the provincial government about the way the pandemic has been handled.
Janet Bertsch, an organizer for the Morinville event, said they hoped to send a message to Nally and get some answers about the fourth wave of the pandemic.
“Number one, we are wondering what he's doing — where is he? And where is his confidence in this situation?” she asked.
The second thing Bertsch said they would like to ask him is about his conscience, as his party has been making decisions that are leading to illness and possibly deaths.
“[Those decisions are] putting a severe strain on our health system that doctors are actually saying, ‘We're not waiting for it to collapse, it has collapsed,’ preventing people from getting the surgeries that we need.
“Like where is your voice as an MLA within a party that's enacting legislation like that?” she implored.
Bertsch said she would like to see Nally take an active role.
“There are MLAs who raised their voice, there are MLAs who go public with their objections to how the government is running, but Dale Nally is not one of those,” she said.
Bertsch said the government has caused families a huge amount of stress and grief and the province has been a laughing stock.
“The government policy in relation to COVID has been very weak,” she said.
The tombstones the group chose to decorate Nally's windows with are symbolic.
“My big question to Jason Kenney right now is, how many more people are going to have die because your government doesn't have the courage to put in restrictions whenever we need them and to maintain them, as long as there is this heavy danger?
“You know, it might be unrealistic for us to aim for zero cases of COVID. But every other province, except perhaps Saskatchewan, is doing a whole lot better at keeping a cap on this,” she said.
Approval rating for Jason Kenney has hit a dismal 22 per cent support in a poll released by ThinkHQ on Oct. 4, with only 16 per cent of those saying they somewhat support the premier. Data from the online poll showed 77 per cent of the people polled do not support the premier, with 61 per cent of those being strongly unsupportive.
“There is no doubt that COVID-19 is the origin of much of Kenney’s troubles, but in many respects, he has been the architect of his own misfortune.
“The province’s response to COVID has been unresponsive, at times contrary and disjointed, and the political gamble that was ‘The best summer ever’ is now taking a punishing toll both politically for the leader and in real human costs for Albertans and the health-care system,” said ThinkHQ Public Affairs Inc. president Marc Henry in a press statement.
Richard Gordon, a resident in the St. Albert-Edmonton constituency, also put up posters during the event. He said he came because he was worried not enough people would speak out.
“It's kind of been left up to everyday ordinary citizens to figure out what's going on and that's a really dangerous scenario, because it leads us to go down paths of political discourse that don't end well for society,” he said.
In an email, Nally said the government’s main priority is responding to the fourth wave, increasing vaccination rates, and protecting the health-care system, and they will continue to work with Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw.
Nally said he has record of being responsive to concerns and would be happy to set up a virtual meeting with Bertsch to follow up.
“Albertans and the constituents of Morinville-St. Albert have a right to peacefully express their views about their government. I respect the diverse views of people in our community and, as the elected MLA, my staff and I make every effort to address their concerns and answer questions,” he said.
Altogether, four people took part in the protest.