An anti-lockdown group is asking Premier Jason Kenney and chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw for a public debate over the merits of COVID-19 restrictions.
The group, dubbed COVID Common Ground, includes David Redman, a retired lieutenant-colonel and former head of Emergency Management Alberta.
In a news release Monday, the group challenged Kenney and his COVID-19 response team, including Hinshaw and Health Minister Tyler Shandro, to engage in an academic debate “in order to provide Albertans with a transparent discussion of complete data to date and various strategies used over the last year, today, and in the future.”
The group wants to cover a number of topics including how effective the restrictions are at controlling the pandemic and review the “supporting science and corresponding data” that the province used in its decision making.
Both Kenney and Hinshaw have previously said on multiple occasions restrictions are needed to ensure the health-care system does not get overwhelmed. This occurred in December when hard restrictions were introductions after new cases, hospitalizations and deaths skyrocketed and the contact-tracing system collapsed.
During an update on COVID-19 on Jan. 21, after weeks of the restrictions being in place, active cases, hospitalizations and positivity rate were declining which Hinshaw said indicated the restrictions were working.
“We are protecting one another by reducing in person interactions which in turn is reducing the number of people that get sick, test positive and ultimately require hospital care,” Hinshaw said at the time.
If the Alberta Government and Hinshaw accept, the group is requesting that a date for debate be agreed upon between Monday and April 5.
Hinshaw nor the province have commented publicly on the request.