Alberta Premier Jason Kenney recently stated that Canada has reached the “outer limits” of further public-health restrictions that Canadians are willing to accept.
“A complex free society is not a machine that the government can easily micromanage. We have to account for things like human volition and freedom in the stringency of our measures,” Kenney said. “If anything, and I think this was a consensus amongst premiers with whom I spoke last night, we’re kind of at the population’s outer limits after 21 months.”
These comments follow Kenney's announcement that Alberta’s COVID-19 restrictions will be lessened prior to the Christmas holidays, while other provinces scramble in the opposite direction amid the Omicron variant, with measures such as travel advisories and more widespread use of rapid testing.
In Alberta, the unvaccinated are now permitted to hold social gatherings, and more than two households, with a maximum of 10 adults — though no limits on those under 18 — are now allowed to get together.
Kenney has said in recent days that Alberta’s public-health measures, among the strictest in the country, were out of touch with how Albertans were behaving, and that “widespread non-compliance” was harming the credibility of public-health measures. Many Albertans, Kenney said, “have just tuned us out.”
Kenney believes it will be easier to get people on board if measures are relaxed now.
“When we’ve seen the public step up with a behaviour that reduces transmission, it’s been through people making that decision voluntarily,” Kenney said. “I think people will correct their behaviour in the future if they see that our health care system is once again under serious stress.”