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MLA Cooper says unions 'engaged in politics of COVID'

“When I hear from constituents the last thing the majority of them want is additional lockdown measures," said Olds-Didsbury-Three Hills MLA
MVT stock Nathan Cooper
Olds-Didsbury-Three Hills MLA Nathan Cooper. Submitted photo

OLDS - Alberta unions calling for circuit-breaker action in light of high Omicron variant COVID numbers and related hospitalizations do not have the support of most people in his riding, says Olds-Didsbury-Three Hills UCP MLA Nathan Cooper.

The Alberta Federation of Labour, Alberta Union of Public Employees, the United Nurses of Alberta, the Alberta Teachers' Association, Canadian Union of Public Employees and several other unions issued a joint call last week for the Kenney government to implement new measures to combat the fifth wave of the pandemic in Alberta.

In response, Cooper, who is also the speaker of the Legislative Assembly, provided the following comment to the Albertan: “When I hear from constituents the last thing the majority of them want is additional lockdown measures. It’s unfortunate these unions are engaging in the politics of COVID.”

Tens of thousands of new COVID-19 cases, many driven by the Omicron variant, were identified in the province over the past week, says Alberta Health.

The unions say the governing United Conservative Party (UCP) should implement temporary circuit-breaker measures to protect the health system and residents.

The measures proposed include prohibiting large gatherings, including concerts and sporting events; closing restaurant and bars to in-person dining; shutting down movie theatres and casinos; and moving churches and other houses of worship on-line.

“Only essential services should continue to operate while these emergency measures are in place and income supports should, once again, be provided to workers and businesses who are impacted,” a joint union release stated.

“It’s too late to avoid the fifth wave, but it is not too late to save lives and protect our health care system and our economy.”

Jason Nixon is the Rimbey-Rocky Mountain House UCP MLA and Minister of Environment and Parks.

“A circuit-breaker is not on the table and not being considered,” Nixon told the Albertan. “Notley, Trudeau and their fellow union bosses have expressed support for non-consensual medical treatments, taxing the unvaccinated and two-tiered healthcare, but the UCP government has unequivocally said no to all of the above.”