Trudeau slams premiers of Alta. and Sask. for handling of 4th wave

Calling the fourth wave of COVID-19 "primarily of people who chose not to get vaccinated," Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau took aim at the premiers of Alberta and Saskatchewan while on the campaign trail Tuesday, saying they are not protecting residents or the economy.

Speaking to reporters in Richmond, B.C., Trudeau said he "feels bad" for people living in Alberta and Saskatchewan who have "done the right thing" and gotten vaccinated.

"Yes it's a lower number than elsewhere in the country as a proportion, but it's a still a majority of Albertans and Saskatchewanians who have gotten vaccinated," he said.

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

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has said the province won't mandate the use of vaccine passports, something Trudeau has encouraged, and said Tuesday his government will pay for(a different form of proof of immunization).

"We are making it easier for (Alberta and Saskatchewan) to move forward with vaccine verification because we will foot the bill for that," said Trudeau.

"And I don't think any Albertan or Saskatchewanian looking at this election could possibly think that (Conservative Leader) Erin O'Toole, who can't even get his own candidates to get vaccinated, would do any better for them than their current premiers are, sitting across the table from Jason Kenney or Scott Moe."

Alberta has seen COVID-19 case numbers rise rapidly in recent weeks.

The province added 4,740 new cases between Friday and Sunday, increasing active infections to 18,395.

Alberta also reported 18 deaths.

A recent survey suggests the majority of Alberta businesses support the introduction of some sort of proof of vaccination system.

The poll was conducted by Leger — commissioned in part by the Calgary and Edmonton chambers of commerce — and shows 70 per cent of businesses and 74 per cent of the general population support vaccine certification.

Thirteen per cent of business and 12 per cent of the general population oppose it.

CTV Calgary has reached out to Kenney's office for comment. The Alberta premier cancelled an upcoming trip to northern Alberta and is meeting Tuesday with his caucus and cabinet members.  

On Monday, Alberta Health said there were 803 COVID-19 patients in hospital, including 198 in ICU – a pandemic record.

More than 90 per cent of ICU admissions are not fully vaccinated.

After the province reported numbers that show its worsening situation, Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw told doctors that restrictions were lifted too early.

On Tuesday, the provincial government said its printable card for proof of vaccination would become available on Thursday.