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Lockdown or mockdown? Albertans let loose on Premier Jason Kenney over new measures

Last Updated Nov 25, 2020 at 6:52 pm MDT

CALGARY – Some Albertans looking for a lockdown are instead getting what they call a #Mockdown; others looking for the status quo are upset with new measures.

Premier Jason Kenney seemed to please very few with Tuesday’s announcement of new restrictions.

“Obviously he’s trying to be all things to all people as much as possible and striking that compromise position is not going to please everybody,” said Mount Royal University political scientist Lori Williams.

Many feel the premier punted on taking serious action with measures that either don’t go far enough or don’t make sense. Others say the measures go too far, impacting the economy and livelihoods.

There seems to be mounting frustration from all sides.

“But this isn’t going to be the sole basis upon which people judge Jason Kenney’s premiership.”

Another flashpoint for the premier was a decision to invoke the Charter of Rights and Freedoms as part of an explanation why he didn’t impose tougher measures.

“It would also be an unprecedented violation of fundamentally, constitutionally protected rights and freedoms,” said Kenney on Tuesday.

“The premier suggesting that the constitution in some way tied his hands to deal with the pandemic is surprising, I think, sense of the policy-making that’s going on,” said Eric Adams, Professor of Law at the University of Alberta.

Adams and other legal experts say that’s because it doesn’t hold up.

“From my perspective, they all are infringements but they are reasonable infringements so a court would see them that way,” said Doug King, Professor of Justice Studies at Mount Royal University.

“There’s absolutely no question that a court would extend the maximum amount of leeway to governments to try and address the public health crisis they are faced with,” said Adams.

“If we’re heading to fight these issues in a court of law, we’ve lost the battle against the pandemic,” said King.

A battle which, for better or worse, is seeing new fronts opened in Alberta.