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Calgary councillor 'disgusted', 'embarrassed' by UCP MLAs' behavior during pandemic

Last Updated May 12, 2021 at 2:31 pm MDT

Calgary City Councillor George Chahal meets with Liberal MLA Kent Hehr to discuss gun control in Calgary on Oct. 3, 2019 (PHOTO: Saif Kaiser, 660 NEWS)

CALGARY – A Calgary city councillor has penned an open letter to the UCP government expressing his disappointment in the behaviors of some of the party’s MLAs.

Ward 5’s George Chahal says he’s disgusted and embarrassed by those in the party who “continually try to undermine their own government” when it comes to the province’s pandemic management.

“Scientific evidence has been clear for some time now. Mask wearing, physical distancing, and vaccinations will allow us to overcome this pandemic. There is a not-so-fringe minority in this province who deny this science. Some happen to be members of the government,” he wrote.

“From questioning initial scientific recommendation, travelling over the holidays, public opposition to partial lockdowns, failing to tamp down on vaccine hesitancy, and general opposition to public health regulations (ostensibly in the name of freedom) failure to collectively lead by example has facilitated some of the highest infection rates in North America.”

Chahal says while we can and should be having debates about ways to best govern the province, the time to do so is not the middle of a pandemic.

RELATED: Seventeen UCP MLAs release statement opposing pandemic restrictions

“Now is not the time to play the blame game. It can wait until we have contained the pandemic and restored some semblance of normalcy.”

He goes on to criticize the justice minister’s recent comments claiming opposing politicians, the federal government, and the media all wanted to see the COVID-19 end disastrously.

READ MORE: Alberta justice minister accuses opposition, the media, federal government of wanting a COVID-19 disaster

Kaycee Madu apologized for his comments Tuesday, but Chahal says in his letter that Madu’s comments reflect an inability to put politics on the back burner in an effort to prioritize the well-being of Albertans.

“Where he sees enemies salivating at his government’s failure, I see Albertans bruised and broken by a brutal pandemic pleading for their leaders to be better… I hope no more apologies are needed.”

He closes the letter by saying he recognizes all of the sacrifices people have made through the last year and he implores everyone to continue to follow public health rules.

“When this is over, we will judge our leaders by how they handled their duties. For now, with or without leadership from our elected officials, we must persevere.”

Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi also had some things to say about Madu’s comment.

“He was trying to defend the restrictions, it just came off very, very strange,” Nenshi said.

“This is not the time for ridiculous partisan snipes, because as we see with Minister Madu they tend to backfire so why even bother?” Nenshi added.

He then went on to say that Premier Jason Kenney already has enough on his plate “without having to worry about members of his cabinet going so terribly off script.”