Jason Kenney, Premier of Alberta, Canada, has announced that several COVID-19 restrictions, including the COVID-19 vaccine passport which mandated proof of vaccine for entry into various businesses, will end at 11:59 p.m. local time Tuesday night. This is the first in a three-step plan to eliminate the majority of COVID-19 rules by the end of February and comes after weeks of massive protests throughout Canada against the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Now is the time to begin learning to live with COVID,” Kenney said. “These restrictions have led to terrible division.”
“We cannot remain at a heightened state of emergency forever. We have to begin to heal.”
Earlier on Tuesday, Kenney pledged to “fight” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s vaccine mandate for Canadian truckers.
“If the Canada-USA trucker vaccine mandate wasn’t bad enough, now Justin Trudeau wants to bring in a mandate for truckers going between provinces,” Kenney tweeted.
“Alberta will fight this every step of the way – including in court, if we have to,” he declared.
If the Canada-USA trucker vaccine mandate wasn't bad enough, now Justin Trudeau wants to bring in a mandate for truckers going between provinces.
Alberta will fight this every step of the way – including in court, if we have to.
📽 WATCH: ⬇ pic.twitter.com/YvUTSgAj1t
— Jason Kenney (@jkenney) February 8, 2022
Truckers, following in the footsteps of the Ottawa ‘Freedom Convoy,’ have been blockading the U.S-Canadian border, demanding that the Canadian government drop all forms of COVID-19 mandates and restrictions.
Kenney alluded to those protests and other Canadians upset with the restrictions as part of his nighttime address Tuesday night, according to Edmonton CTV News:
The premier also talked about how pandemic rules have “inflamed” disputes amongst Albertans and “disrupted and even destroyed livelihoods.”
“We’ll never be able to do a full accounting of the extent of the pain and hardship that restrictions have caused,” Kenney said.
The premier added that many countries, states, and provinces are also removing restrictions as Omicron case numbers fade.
“We cannot remain at a heightened state of emergency forever. We have to begin to heal, and so Alberta will move on. But we’ll do so carefully, we’ll do so prudently, we will do so only if it does not threaten the capacity of our healthcare system,” Kenney said.
Prior to the announcement, political opponents accused Kenney of placating “criminals,” in reference to the truckers leading the protests, CTV News noted:
“The sight of an elected government being bent to the will of criminals should be of grave concern to everyone regardless of their political beliefs,” NDP Leaders Rachel Notley said Monday.
While Kenney no longer supports the government mandating that businesses require proof of COVID-19 vaccine for customers, the Alberta premiere did say that he would support a businesses’ right to choose if they wanted to have a vaccine passport of their own. Kenney cited the “free market” as part of his reasoning, but also added that he hoped Canada could move away from “all” pandemic measures.
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This is a developing news story; check back for updates.