Trudeau knocks Moe over provincial government's handling of COVID-19

Liberal leader Justin Trudeau took swipes at two western premiers over their handling of the delta-fuelled fourth wave of COVID-19 currently swallowing Alberta and Saskatchewan.

“Getting vaccinated is the way through this. I feel bad, really bad, for those people in Alberta and Saskatchewan who’ve stepped up to do the right thing,” said Trudeau at a campaign stop in Richmond, B.C. Tuesday morning

“And because of leadership that will not commit to keeping them safe in the right way, or even protecting the economy the right way, they’re facing greater risks because of cancelled surgeries. They’re facing emergency public health restrictions that may have to be brought in.”

Trudeau made the comments when he was asked if he had any advice for Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, whose provinces have the highest COVID-19 case rates and lowest vaccination rates among provinces.

The remarks come on the heels of a record-setting day in Saskatchewan. The province reported its highest single-day tally of new cases since the start of the pandemic on Monday with 449. Eighty-nine per cent of the new infections were in residents who aren’t not fully vaccinated.

Saskatchewan also issued a provincial emergency order to allow the health authority to redirect health care workers to areas experiencing capacity pressure because of rising COVID-19 hospitalizations.

In Alberta, hundreds of elective surgeries and outpatient treatments have been cancelled in an attempt to offset rising pressure on the health care system.  On Monday, the province set a new pandemic record for ICU admissions with nearly 200 patients.

Trudeau said millions of people have been vaccinated against COVID-19 and bringing in clear mandates when it comes to mandatory vaccinations pushes vaccine-hesitant people to get the shot.

Moe has repeatedly urged residents to get vaccinated, however he has also assured people that it will remain a choice as the province will not bring in any mandatory vaccine measures for non-essential businesses and events.

Trudeau said the Liberals will make it easier for provinces to move forward with COVID-19 vaccine certification because they will cover the costs.

A representative from Scott Moe's office said they have "no comment on a politically-charged statement from one of the federal party leaders on a serious health challenge affecting all Canadians."