Cheerleaders need not apply 

Written by Brenda Schimke

So, our Premier wants to change the channel from his incompetence and play the hero now that vaccines are rolling out. He is pre-blaming the federal government for not getting vaccines to us quick enough and has threatened to go to the open market to purchase vaccines. 

What a stroke of luck for Kenney that just a week after this pronouncement, Pfizer-Europe advised all its customers, including Canada, that doses promised will be cut in half for a month. They are re-jigging and expanding their production plant so that future vaccine deliveries can be significantly higher. 

Jim Carr, newly appointed minister responsible for the western prairies, confirmed that any province can purchase their own vaccines as long as they have Health Canada approval—i.e, Pfizer or Moderna. The Oxford vaccine touted by Kenney, although approved in Britain, is not legal in Canada.

As a businessman in his other life, Carr reminded provinces that the feds large volume purchases equal lower cost per dose. Albertans may question why an Alberta government that has been so stingy with financial support for small businesses and municipalities throughout the pandemic, is now willing to finance the purchase of higher-priced vaccines when the feds are providing them for free.

The federal government has been open and transparent throughout. Kenney knows exactly how many doses Alberta will receive each week and he knows when supply chain interruptions will affect deliveries. He just choses, for political reasons, to muddy the water by making every announcement on vaccine deliveries an attack on the feds.

Premier Ford and his logistics guy, retired General Rick Hillier, are taking the exact opposite approach. On national TV daily, they keep their public informed, acknowledge the value of a close working relationship with the federal government and are ramping up delivery capacity with the expectation of significant amounts of doses coming in April, May and June. 

They are also anticipating the eventual approval of the Oxford and Johnson & Johnson vaccines. As a former military commander, Hillier is making decisions using facts and intel received from having a close working relationship with the federal government. 

It’s reminiscent of Kenney racing into the crowded and expensive market to purchase masks as the pandemic unfolded. Mr. Kenney, the hero, distributes free masks at fast food joints and sends them across the country to feed his ego.

Of course, the issue was never about purchasing the mask, it was about wearing the mask. In that department, Kenney failed miserably showing disdain for the mask and not issuing a province-wide mask mandate until late November when the virus was totally out of control. 

The same will be said about the vaccine. Alberta has the highest per capita of anti-vaxxers in the country. Rather than looking to do the work of the federal government, Kenney and his pals should be employing all their star power to speak to anti-vaxxers about the safety and critical importance of vaccinations. 

Rather, Kenney uses time during his infrequent press conferences to whine about how hard things have been for him. ‘I haven’t been able to leave the province since February. ‘I’ve had months where I can only visit my mommy through a window’.

You know a loser leader when he bemoans his petty inconveniences when thousands are dying on his watch. A loser leader must always find someone else to blame yet insist on leading the parade even if it’s the wrong parade. A loser leader needs anger and division to keep power. A loser leader doesn’t believe he has to set an example. And that’s why Jason Kenney has the lowest rating by far of any premier in Canada for his handling this pandemic. 

In a crisis you don’t need a cheerleader, you need a leader.


Brenda Schimke 

ECA Review

About the author

Brenda Schimke

Schimke is a Graduate with Distinction from the University of Alberta with a BCom degree. She has lived and worked in Alberta, BC and Ontario.