INNISFAIL - The RCMP and Alberta Health Services (AHS) have launched an investigation into Glen Carritt’s First Annual Spring Fever event on April 3 to determine whether the mayoralty candidate violated provincial government COVID-19 restrictions.
The two-hour afternoon outdoor event, also billed as an Easter celebration for the community, attracted more than 400 people, said Carritt in a post-event video he posted on his Facebook page.
“It really shows me that people are ready to have a sense of normal and just do events. I think it is a great way to move forward,” said Carritt in the April 4 video. “These rallies, etcetera, are fantastic but we need to keep trying to move the needle but I really feel the way that we can continue to move the needle is to just do a sense of normal and do these events.”
Carritt’s event, hosted outside on the lot of his oilfield medical assistance and fire and safety management business in the town’s industrial area, featured live music, wagon rides, barbecue, games, face painting, and the Easter bunny. Almost every attending citizen shown in Carritt’s video were not wearing face masks, with many also exercising questionable social distancing practices. An RCMP cruiser was parked outside the lot watching over the event.
“We did attend and are working and supporting with AHS in what the next steps will be. It is an ongoing investigation,” said RCMP Cpl. Tammy Keibel, the force’s media relations officer for the southern Alberta district.
On April 7, AHS issued a brief statement on the probe.
“AHS is aware of the event that took place in Innisfail over the long weekend. We are working with RCMP,” said Tracy Kennedy, senior communications advisor for AHS.
The Albertan attempted to get comment from Innisfail's mayor, Jim Romane, on the probe but he was not immediately available.
However, Coun. Don Harrison, the town's current deputy mayor, said he welcomed the investigation.
“He was being non-compliant and it’s not endorsed by the town at all. We, the town, certainly don’t condone his activities and his behaviour,” said Harrison. “We are living with the restrictions based on science and the direction we are getting from Alberta Health Services, and the chief medical officer Dr. Deena Hinshaw, and the premier. If it is under investigation, then that is excellent, which it should be.”
Carritt told The Albertan on April 9 the event was “happy and positive” and a “huge” success, with citizens attending because they were “tired” of lockdowns.
“People in Alberta are tired of being lied to and in lockdowns. We the people will fight for our rights and freedoms,” said Carritt in a text to The Albertan, who was then asked if he was concerned with the dramatic increase in variant COVID cases. “That’s the choice of the people.”
The mayoralty candidate, who resigned from town council in January after being confronted by council for his support of a defiant business owner over COVID restrictions, was then asked if he was prepared to face the consequences if AHS and the RCMP determine he violated provincial COVID restrictions.
“I am concerned about all the suicides and mental heath issues. I am concerned about all the business owners losing their livelihood over what has not been proven by our government or AHS to be a pandemic,” said Carritt by text. “I am concerned about our seniors being locked down and not seeing loved ones. I am concerned about our kids not playing sports.
“And many experts agree. Many MLAs are standing up against Jason Kenney,” he added. “The event shows me that people are done with being under any kind of lockdown. Stop lying about the hospital numbers and open our province up.”
On April 11, the Alberta government reported 1,183 new cases of COVID-19, which followed a record high of 1,521 on April 9. There were 14,293 active cases of COVID-19 as of April 11. The province also reported an additional 942 new variant cases identified in the previous 24 hours, which was also a record high.
The province also reported there are 376 people being treated in hospital, with 90 in intensive care. One more person died, bringing the total number of COVID deaths in Alberta to 2,013.