Alberta Justice Minister Kaycee Madu apologizes for COVID-19 comments
CALGARY -- Alberta Justice Minister Kaycee Madu has apologized for comments made on social media saying the opposition NDP and federal Liberals, along with the media, want the province's health-care system to collapse from the COVID-19 pandemic.
"I would like to offer an apology for my recent comments on my personal Facebook account. Alberta is facing an unprecedented public health crisis," Madu posted on both Facebook and Twitter Tuesday evening.
"My comments were wrong, as all Canadians want this global pandemic to end as soon as possible.
"I fully support the premier’s recent call to avoid the divisive political rhetoric during what we all hope is the final period of this pandemic, and will continue the important work of government in protecting Albertans from this virus."
Asked about Madu's comments during the regular COVID-19 update on Tuesday afternoon, Premier Jason Kenney told reporters he hadn't seen them and would speak to the minister.
The apology was posted about two hours later.
Madu made Facebook comments — using his personal account — on his own May 8 post of a photo of his COVID-19 vaccination, as well as a May 6 post of George Clark, leader of the Albertans First Movement.
In a reply to another commenter who questioned the severity of COVID-19 on Clark's post, Madu agreed that the majority of people who contract the virus will make a full recovery before arguing that everything must be done to prevent the potential death of any Albertan and potential overwhelming the province's health care system.
"My point is that I don’t think it will be responsible to simply wait until we have a disaster on our hands," said Madu in his post. "That’s what the NDP, the media and the federal Liberals were looking for and want. We simply couldn’t allow that to happen."
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also referred to Madu's comments as "a shame" earlier in the day.
"I think it's a shame to see people pointing fingers and laying blame and suggesting that anyone in Canada wants anything else but to get through this pandemic as safely as possible," he said.
The apologetic tone was different than the one taken a day earlier by the justice minister. On Monday, when asked about the comments, Madu's press secreteary said he would not apologize, "for stating the obvious."
Alberta reported 1,449 COVID-19 cases on Tuesday.
There are 24,998 active coronavirus cases across the province, including 11,532 in the Calgary zone and 5,707 in the Edmonton zone.