'Feeds a narrative of anger and division': Letter from UCP MLA questions Kenney’s leadership

A UCP MLA has penned an apology letter to constituents saying he is sorry the province imposed new health restrictions after he and others declared "Alberta was not only 'Open for Summer' but 'Open for Good.'"

Airdrie-Cochrane MLA Peter Guthrie also took aim at Premier Jason Kenney, accusing the province of taking a "disparaging and accusatory tone" toward those who choose not to be vaccinated.

Gutherie said he "truly believed," the province wouldn't have to re-impose COVID-19 health measures when he made the statements about Alberta being open, "yet here we are, weeks later, imposing restrictions on constituents again."

"I think most Albertans watched in trepidation over the last several weeks as patient numbers in hospitals, particularly ICUs, began to climb and vaccination rates stalled," the letter read in part.

"Increased anxiety from the public regarding the load on the healthcare system triggered discussions on mandatory vaccination, masks and vaccine passports. These contentious issues have created division in our community."

New rules imposed by the province call for masks to be worn in all indoor public settings and alcohol sales to end at 10 p.m. The province is also now offering $100 to Albertans who receive their first or second dose of vaccine until Oct. 14.

Guthrie says he is vaccinated and believes vaccines are an effective way of protecting Albertans, but he also supports the right of an individual to choose.

"Last Friday, the Government of Alberta announced restrictions adopting a disparaging and accusatory tone toward unvaccinated individuals," the letter read.

"People refusing COVID-19 shots were painted as culpable for creating challenges to the healthcare system. This type of communication from our leader feeds a narrative of anger and division which is unproductive in an already turbulent time. The $100 vaccine incentive has also created animosity within the constituency and I am not in favour of the negative tone adopted by leadership."

Guthrie also accused the province of shifting its position on vaccine passports, which Kenney has said several times would not be used in Alberta.

"During last week's announcement it was also revealed to me that the province will be introducing a QR code for Albertans to use as proof of vaccination for organizations choosing to introduce a so-called 'vaccine passport,'" he wrote.

"Such a move suggests that the government's position on this practise is shifting. Various public opinions exist on the use of vaccine passports, but I am not convinced it is a good practise for domestic use as it not only limits access to services and isolates individuals, it also provides a false sense of security for those who are vaccinated."

CTV Calgary has reached out to Kenney's office for comment.

Guthrie declined comment, saying the letter stands for itself.