Monday, August 8, 2022

NDP demands Kenney commit to public inquiry on COVID-19 outbreaks at meat plants

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Alberta’s Official Opposition is demanding Premier Jason Kenney commit to a public inquiry into the handling of COVID-19 outbreaks at two southern Alberta meat plants.

As of Thursday there were 480 workers with novel coronavirus at the Cargill plant in High River and 126 workers at JBS in Brooks, as well as two deaths, one worker from each plant.

NDP Labour Critic Christina Gray says the only way to truly learn from these tragedies is to hold the government to account through a full public inquiry.

She admits now is not the time to start the inquiry but the Official Opposition is asking for a commitment by the Premier.

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Gray says “Jason Kenney must commit to this public inquiry. The premier and his ministers have ben insisting that the situation at Cargill and JBS have been and continue to be handled properly. If that’s true, he should be fully willing to launch a public inquiry to determine the facts.”

The NDP says workers at Cargill had been raising concerns over tight-quarters, lack of personal protection equipment and other issues for about two weeks before the first cases of COVID-19 were confirmed.

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