United Conservative delegates voiced their opposition Saturday to the public disclosure of private medical information.
With a near-unanimous 'yes' vote, Alberta's Conservative base endorsed the individual’s right to privacy and health care confidentially from employers, businesses, and health care providers.
"During the recent pandemic, many businesses, institutions, organizations and even governments infringed on the constitutionally protected rights and freedoms of many Albertans based on an individual’s health status," reads Resolution #7.
"Health decisions are private and as such these decisions must not be allowed to become a tool for limiting these rights and freedoms," it said.
On November 2, the province tabled Bill 6, the Public Health Amendment Act, to ensure decisions made during declared states of public health emergencies do not supersede the will of Albertans or undermine their Charter Rights.
"Elected officials have a responsibility to act in the best interests of Albertans and swear an oath to duly and faithfully execute the powers and trust imparted. This legislation ensures that final decision-making authority and the accountability that must come with it rest with those entrusted by Albertans," said Justice Minister Mickey Amery.
Before the policy vote, Rebel News asked Premier Danielle Smith to clarify the amendments expected for Bill 6 that would disallow draconian health measures moving forward suggested by Alberta Health Services (AHS), including vaccine passports.
On July 31, Justice Barbara Romaine ruled Alberta's COVID measures, and subsequent charges for non-violent offences, contravened the Alberta Bill of Rights and Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
According to the 90-page decision, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta's former chief medical officer of health, implemented public health measures with an improper decision-making framework — nullifying any legal standing for the "justified" measures, claimed Romaine.
Hinshaw lacked the legal authority to implement the restrictions, said the judge, as the final say rested with Cabinet and elected-member committees, altering the outcomes of several pandemic-related charges against parties accused of breaching public health rules.
The plaintiffs — including two churches and a gym owner — filed the court action in December 2020, simultaneous to their emergency injunction to stay Alberta's COVID restrictions during Christmas. At the time, then-premier Jason Kenney ordered the closure of casinos and gyms. He also banned social gatherings and imposed a mask mandate.
Crown prosecutors ended their pursuit of 14 prosecutions the following month, including the cases of pastor James Coates, Whistle Stop Café owner Christopher Scott and anti-lockdown rodeo organizer Ty Northcott.
According to a Leger poll commissioned by Rebel News last November, 73% of UCP voters supported COVID amnesty for pastors and small businesses, in contrast to a whopping 86% of NDP voters who endorsed prosecuting those charged.
Though Smith walked back her pursuit of COVID amnesty in January, her COVID response review panel appeared to quell the ensuing uproar from party members. A report on her predecessor's governance failures during the pandemic is expected for later this month.
"Albertans can have confidence Alberta's pandemic response will be reviewed by these medical, policy, legal and economic experts so our province can better respond to the next public health emergency," said Smith in a February statement, who expressed remorse over the party's imposition of "freedom-busting" health restrictions.
The premier frequently challenged their efficacy and long-term effects on household incomes, the economy and mental health.
"I don't think I've ever experienced a situation where a person was fired from their job or not allowed to watch their kids play hockey or visit a loved one in long-term care or the hospital," Smith told reporters October 11, 2022. At the time, she called unvaccinated Albertans the "most discriminated against group" she had seen in her lifetime.
According to the Fraser Institute, public health lockdowns devastated the economy and are considered a "radical and untried social policy."
"Ultimately, estimates of the benefit of lockdowns in terms of lives saved were made based on data. Analysts used many procedures to identify the causal effect of lockdowns," reads the essay COVID-19: The Lessons We Should Have Learned.
"Babies born during the pandemic scored lower on gross and fine motor skills, had developmental delays, and fared much worse on intelligence tests, it said. "It is tragically ironic that children were least likely to suffer from the COVID disease but the most likely to suffer from the COVID-19 response."
"All lockdown efforts amounted to almost nothing," added the Institute, who could not provide an estimate of these costs.
The Imperial College of London model, led by Neil Ferguson, predicted 132,687 COVID-related deaths in Canada by July 30, 2020, with full lockdowns in place. By that date, only 9,019 Canadians died from the respiratory virus.