Over the past few weeks, the coronavirus pandemic has forced governments across the western world to take serious action in order to limit the spread of the virus, whilst salvaging the economy. Due to the significance of this crisis, many commentators and politicians have called for the suspension of petty partisanship.
This is no different in Alberta, where Jason Kenney’s government has declared a state of emergency. Kenney has also announced emergency funding to protect the health of the province’s residents.
Despite all this, the Alberta NDP has consistently undermined the UCP government's ability to deal with both coronavirus and the economic crash.
Over the course of a 48-hour stretch, the NDP has misappropriated Kenney’s statements, directed Facebook users to attack the premier, and have sent emails which seem to use coronavirus as a fundraising tactic.
On March 15th, NDP caucus staffer Kate Toogood directed her party’s members to attack a post that Kenney made on Facebook. The post in question showed the premier visiting Edmonton airport so to monitor the efforts to contain the virus.
“If you’re feeling spicy, head over to this post,” said Toogood. “All the comments are positive so I think they're hiding or deleting [Facebook comments]. Let’s make their lives difficult shall we.”
More controversially, however, another NDP caucus staffer named Gurinder Brar posted an attack video that entirely misappropriated previous statements of Kenney to make it seem like the premier was speaking on the subject of coronavirus.
This attack video shows a patient sitting in a darkened hospital room as Kenney’s sound clips are played. One such example of this is the premier saying “there making this out to be like the arrival of the apocalypse”—a statement he made in December on an unrelated issue.
Brar went on to delete this video from his social media. The video in question can be viewed here.
As well as this, the NDP has been using the coronavirus issue as a tactic to fundraise. In an email sent out by the NDP deputy leader Sarah Hoffman, she said “the COVID-19 outbreak reminds us of the importance of a well funded public healthcare system and a government that has the backs of everyday people.”
“We have a financial filing deadline,” she added. “If you can chip in 5$ or more, I can promise that we’ll put your contribution to work right away.”
Alberta’s NDP has also chosen to run attack polls that say the premier is cutting healthcare. These polls were texted to Albertan’s during the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.