Alberta renegade UCP MLAs quit Liberty Caucus

Drew Barnes

Rebel UCP MLA Drew Barnes has a simple message for Premier Jason Kenney – end the lockdown down in southern Alberta.

The Cypress-Medicine Hat MLA says the mental health crisis caused by the lockdown is now worse than the pandemic itself.

In a weekend video message, Barnes noted just across the border in Saskatchewan, people are able to work out and relieve stress in gyms and go to restaurants – something that is banned in Alberta.

“It is time to open up more of our economy, not in two weeks but now,” Barnes said the the video.

Barnes, who issued a dissenting opinion on the Fair Deal panel, also took another shot at Ottawa and the damage it has done to the Alberta economy.

He said he’s looking forward to the next UCP caucus where he can express his opinion on behalf of “50,000 constituents and other Albertans.

“The mental health crisis is as big as coronavirus,” he said.

Barnes also noted that only 1.9 per cent of Alberta’s active cases are in his southern zone.

“I have been calling for a regional approach for a long time,” Barnes told the Medicine Hat News.

“It (COVID) has not been a problem down here and we are destroying our economy (and) mental health for a situation that has not been a problem.”

Last week Kenney announced the provincial COVID-19 lockdown will be extended through January 21, despite a scandal that saw at least 10 of his UCP cabinet ministers, MLA and senior staff jetting out of the country to warmer climes.

Barnes has been a frequent thorn in Kenney’s side, opposing the premier on numerous issues. He has even asked Kenney to appoint him as Minister of Autonomy, a request which has not been granted.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard

News Editor & Calgary Bureau Chief

Dave Naylor is News Editor & Calgary Bureau Chief of the Western Standard based in the Calgary Headquarters. He served as City Editor of the Calgary Sun & covered Alberta news for nearly 40 years.

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