Red Deer-South MLA Jason Stephan wants to see COVID restrictions lifted so Albertans can celebrate Family Day together.
"Families are the fundamental unit of our society. As we approach Family Day, we should consider what that means," Stephan stated. This week, I received and delivered written requests from 28 pastors and hundreds of members of their congregations to lift restrictions so families could celebrate Family Day together. I agree."
The MLA notes Canada’s Charters of Rights and Freedoms protects the “fundamental freedoms” of association and peaceful assembly.
He says while Albertans can gather outside “with freezing winter temperatures family gatherings continue to be starved. Many of our neighbours, and ourselves, have felt isolated and alone.”
Stephan noted that "mental and emotional health requires in person love and kindness," which has took a turn for the worst amid continued lock-down. "The World Health Organization defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. The unfortunate irony is that public health measures can be unhealthy, resulting in familial disconnection, societal contention, and despair."
Stephan has gotten into trouble before for his perspective. Last November, he gave a speech in the Alberta Legislature saying the decision to “reject an NDP social police state lockdown was the right one.” When the did government did later introduce health measures that closed many businesses and implemented restrictions, he still travelled to Arizona in January to visit family.
"Societies and families are healthier and happier when they are free," Stephan said. "A principled vision of hope is healthy, valuing freedom, requiring government to trust adults in positive ways, to govern themselves, allowing their families to carry on the activities of daily living in ways they individually deem fit appropriate to their own circumstances, in a good faith while respecting reasonable health measures and the rights of their neighbors to do the same"
Opinions are mixed.
One commenter on Stephan's Facebook page wrote that "...you certainly do not speak for my family, Mr. Stephan. With cases in Red Deer still rising and so many at risk this is an irresponsible request to make. We all want to be with our families, but it is not time for this. Your pastors are a narrow slice of your constituency!" Others thanked him for "standing up for [his] constituents. There are hundreds of thousands of us who would love to spend Family Day with our families."