“I would like to apologize for my recent comments on my personal Facebook account,” Kaycee Honey a tweeté. “Alberta is facing an unprecedented public health crisis.
“My comments were wrong because all Canadians want this global pandemic to end as soon as possible.
Madu posted on Facebook on Friday that Alberta couldn’t risk giving COVID-19 a chance to “overwhelm our health care system.”
“This is what the NDP, the media and the federal Liberals were looking for and wanting,” read his Facebook comment.
When Global News requested an interview on the comments Monday, Madu was not made available. His press secretary said the minister was upholding his remarks.
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Madu’s comments have been criticized by the NDP and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
“Madu’s comments are despicable and he must apologize immediately,” said David Shepherd, the NDP’s health critic on Monday.
On Tuesday, Trudeau called it “shameful to see people point fingers and blame and suggest that anyone in Canada wants anything but to get through this pandemic in the safest way possible everywhere.”
“Being in politics at this point is just not what Canadians want to see,” Trudeau said.
During a press conference on the COVID-19 situation in Alberta on Tuesday afternoon, Premier Jason Kenney said he had never seen Madu’s comments when asked to respond.
“I haven’t seen those comments, but I don’t think anyone wants the pandemic,” the Prime Minister said. “We shouldn’t be pointing fingers.
“COVID (-19) has caused a lot of us to say things that we regret over and over again… And I just encourage everyone, no matter what political side they find themselves in, to try to give of themselves a break now. “
When asked if he would ask Madu to apologize, Kenney did not respond directly and accused the NDP of not supporting the government in the early days of the pandemic.
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“I’ll take a look at the comments and talk to Kaycee. He is a passionate advocate for his community, and we are all frustrated to know where we are with COVID (-19), ”said the Prime Minister. “COVID (-19) shouldn’t be political football.
“From the start, we had an opposition that never sought to support broader efforts, unlike other provinces where the oppositions largely joined the government – at least at the start of the pandemic. This was not the case in Alberta.
“My commitment is that we should all try to work together and take responsibility for people’s motivations as best we can.
Watch below: Some videos from Global News on the COVID-19 situation in Alberta.
Duane Bratt, professor of political science at Mount Royal University in Calgary, told Global News he believed Madu had made “an appropriate apology.”
“There are times when you say something stupid and you don’t want to back down… And then you realize you really did something stupid,” Bratt said. “What’s fascinating about the apology is (Madu’s press secretary) Blaise Boehmer who doubled down yesterday and said the minister would not apologize.
“Jason Kenney has been trying to set a new tone over the last week or so… I think Madu’s (post) Facebook took that off… Even today, Kenney refrained from criticizing the federal government, which ‘he normally does… the NDP… but he’s talked about it in the past.
Bratt believes politicians blaming Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the federal government for the COVID-19 situation in Alberta are raising questions.
“How did Trudeau lead to the crash of the health care system?” he said. “You can criticize, I guess, the vaccine rollout in February, but it was even across the country, and Alberta was hit the hardest (by COVID-19).”
Bratt said he thought Kenney’s claim on Tuesday afternoon that he had not seen his minister’s Facebook comments was not credible.
“It’s been a big story for a few days,” he said. “The Prime Minister spoke about it publicly today.
“If he didn’t know, in fact his people did. Why wouldn’t they have told him that (before Tuesday’s press conference)? “
Bratt added that he believed Kenney must have had a conversation with Madu immediately after Tuesday’s press conference.
“The press conference ended, and… shortly after, we saw an apology,” he said. “(I think) he watched the press conference or the Prime Minister called him.
Madu’s comments come as Alberta imposes tighter public health restrictions to try to slow the spread of COVID-19 in the province. Alberta has seen a sharp increase in coronavirus cases in recent weeks, as the province has spent time on a per capita basis leading North American jurisdictions for most infections.
When new restrictions were announced last week, Kenney said the province’s health system was buckling under pressure from the novel coronavirus and slowing the spread of the virus was key to not overwhelming hospitals and units. intensive care.
–With files from Dean Bennett of The Canadian Press
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