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Kenney admits “Safe Schools” are a fiction

John Bell

September 3, 2020

Alberta’s back-to-school plan is only days old and already in a shambles.

Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta CMO, said that a “small number” of schools were reporting cases of COVID among staff and teachers, but refused to elaborate on what the number actually was. So much for transparency.

Her role is less to protect the public than to justify government policy, which is to reopen the ailing economy at all costs. She and United Conservative Premier Jason Kenney were working hard to normalize the idea that it was okay for kids to get sick or carry the virus on to other more vulnerable people.

“We've always said that there will be infections in the schools…” Kenney toldthe press. “We appreciate the additional federal funding, but there is no world in which you could reduce class sizes in half and reopen the schools for the current school year ... It's simply fictitious. It has nothing to do with reality.”

Like Doug Ford, his Ontario counterpart who admitted his school plan amounted to “praying to god”, Kenney as much as said he’s making it up as he goes along: “We're all learning through this as we go.”

Of course there is no money for safe schools. Since taking office Kenney has cut corporate taxes from 12% to 8%, and invested about $4 billion in pipeline and tar sands projects in a vain attempt to kickstart an economy that was in the dumpster even before COVID. He has gutted public education and moved to privatize the healthcare system, alienating doctors and nurses. He says throwing money to the fossil fuel industry will create jobs but Alberta is on track to lose 25,000 jobs in 2020.

The man who is ideologically devoted to a fossil fuel future thinks keeping kids, families and teachers safe is unrealistically expensive. He simply doesn’t care how many die as long as business can restart.

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