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Alberta

No lockdowns in Alberta if Emergency Management Agency was in charge – Former Executive Director David Redman

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As Canadians look south of the border it’s obvious different state governments have taken different approaches in the battle against Covid 19.  Some states have been opened entirely for months while in others, children haven’t been to school in an entire year.  But which approach is better when it comes to reducing Covid cases?  The State of Florida has been open during the entire second wave while New York State is just beginning to lift lockdowns. Despite the different approaches in Florida and New York, in both states cases are down to a third or less of where they were in early January.  Death rates are also down by two thirds since January in both states.

Alberta’s approach could have been vastly different too.  Premier Jason Kenney has the tough job of trying to balance the freedom to gather, to work and to worship, with the mandate to protect the health of Albertans by isolating us from teammates, workmates, and friendships.  As the ebb and flow of restrictions continues one year into the Covid experience, a growing number of people are convinced lockdowns are not an effective response.   But what is the alternative?

One person qualified to answer this difficult question is David Redman.  Redman is former Executive Director of the Alberta Emergency Management Agency.   Before that he spent over 25 years in the military, retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel with vast experience in logistics.  As ED of the Emergency Management Agency, Redman traveled side by side with then Premier Ralph Klein when tragedy struck the province.  His role included formulating plans to deal with a variety of emergencies, including pandemics.  When an emergency occurred, the staff would immediately gather with leaders from government agencies and relevant private companies (power companies, etc).  Within 36 hours, they’d revise an existing plan and present the Premier with options for moving forward.

The province of Alberta’s website makes a bold statement about emergency management.  As this screen shot indicates Alberta’s Emergency Management Agency “leads and oversees all emergency and disaster prevention, preparedness and responses.” 

There’s only one problem with this bold statement.  In what has become the farthest reaching emergency in modern Alberta history, for some reason Alberta’s Emergency Management Agency is not co-ordinating Alberta’s response. Premier Jason Kenney is co-ordinating Alberta’s response with Health Minister Tyler Shandro, Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Deena Hinshaw, and others.

This is not sitting well with David Redman.  Redman says when the first wave hit and Alberta announced a general lockdown, Redman was shocked such drastic measures were being taken. He knew immediately the emergency response plan had been thrown out.

Redman began contacting all Canada’s premiers.  He put together a presentation to show what they were doing wrong and what they should be doing instead.  It’s taken months to gain traction, but the media is starting to pay attention to Redman as he shares his presentation to people all over Canada.

His main message; governments can do a far better job of protecting the vulnerable AND protecting the economy.  Even though the second major wave is ebbing and restrictions are slowly disappearing, Redman says the matter is still urgent.  He’s convinced Covid variants will ensure future waves and unless they pivot to a new approach, governments will go back to the tool they’ve been relying on… lockdowns.

This is an abridged version of the presentation Redman has been showing all over the country is his effort to get at least one Premier to show the rest of Canada a different way to react to this emergency.

Also part of David Redman’s presentation is this comparison between lockdown measures and Canada’s Annual Viral Infection Curve.  Redman shows the annual viral infection curve performed exactly as usual in the past year.  In this part of the presentation Redman shows how the lockdown restrictions have coincided with the curve and therefore lockdowns have not greatly affected the spread of Covid.

After 15 years as a TV reporter with Global and CBC and as news director of RDTV in Red Deer, Duane set out on his own 2008 as a visual storyteller. During this period, he became fascinated with a burgeoning online world and how it could better serve local communities. This fascination led to Todayville, launched in 2016.

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Alberta

Gustavsson leads AHL Senators in 4-2 win over Heat

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CALGARY — Filip Gustavsson stopped 30 shots as the Belleville Senators doubled up the Stockton Heat 4-2 on Wednesday in American Hockey League play.

Lassi Thomson, Egor Sokolov, Mark Kastelic and Parker Kelly scored to help the Senators (8-12-1) halt a three-game slide.

Matthew Phillips and Zac Leslie replied for the Heat (10-12-1).

Garret Sparks stopped 28-of-31 shots for Stockton.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 14, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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Alberta

Calgary schools to shift to at-home learning for grades 7 to 12 due to COVID-19

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CALGARY — The Alberta government says schools in Calgary will move to at-home learning starting Monday for students in grades 7 to 12.

The change, due to COVID-19, is to last for two weeks.

Alberta Education said Wednesday that it approved requests from public and Catholic schools in the city to make the move to online learning.

Education Minister Adriana LaGrange said in a release that some school boards are dealing with operational pressures due to rising COVID-19 cases.

“The safety of students and staff is my top priority, which is why I am responding to the boards’ requests and respecting their autonomy,” she said.

“By having a clear process in place, we are giving them flexibility to move to at-home learning when necessary.”

The province said it has not closed any schools for health reasons, and any decision to move a portion of a school to at-home learning is at the discretion of each school board.

About 19 per cent of schools have COVID-19 alerts or outbreaks. Nine schools are currently doing online learning.

Marilyn Dennis, board chair with the Calgary Board of Education, said in the release that the greatest impacts of COVID-19 have been in schools with higher grades.

Alberta’s chief medical health officer, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, also said there has been a sharp rise in cases among school-aged Albertans.

The province, with 15,569 active infections, currently has the highest rate of active cases in Canada.

On Wednesday, the province reported 1,412 new cases of COVID-19 and eight additional deaths due to the virus. There were 420 people in hospital due to COVID-19, with 92 in intensive care.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 14, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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