Alberta’s provincial government is suspending the spring sitting of legislature for two weeks as 1,731 new COVID-19 cases were reported Sunday.

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Albertas provincial government is suspending the spring sitting of legislature for two weeks as 1,731 new COVID-19 cases were reported Sunday.
The decision was made after Government House Leader Jason Nixon consulted with the official opposition and advising Speaker Nathan Cooper that the move is in the public interest, said a government press release issued Sunday afternoon.
With COVID-19 continuing to spread across Alberta, the government has determined that having MLAs return to Edmonton from all over the province after constituency week is no longer prudent, said Nixon in the release. Suspending proceedings is the right thing to do as case counts increase. We continue to strongly encourage all Albertans to follow their local health guidelines and get vaccinated when its their turn.
The provincial cabinet and legislative committees will meet virtually. The suspension is set to last until May 17.
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The government said the move is based solely on rising COVID-19 numbers, not on any confirmed cases among MLAs.
In response to the temporary closure, NDP Leader Rachel Notley accused Premier Jason Kenney of fleeing from scrutiny around his response to the pandemic.
This premier has now run and gone into hiding. Hes a coward, she said at a Sunday news conference.
Albertas NDP adamantly opposes Jason Kenneys plan to flee the legislature while critical public health measures such as paid sick leave have not been enacted, and the governments broader response is floundering.
Notley said the opposition was not consulted about the decision but were told about it in a brief meeting Sunday morning, and that there had not been any meaningful conversations about how the legislature could meet virtually.
She said the party planned on asking for an emergency debate and hoped to ask the government about Alberta Health Services triage protocols in the event ICUs reach capacity, school safety, and restaurants being asked to enforce health rules.
Active cases peak
Active cases reached their highest ever at 22,504 on Sunday, a day after Alberta recorded its highest daily case count since the pandemic began with 2,433 new infections.
New cases dropped to 1,731 Sunday after 16,567 tests 3,890 lower than the previous day. Three more people have died and 648 people are in hospital including 155 in ICU.
The Calgary Zone remained the provinces hot spot for active cases at 9,556, followed by the Edmonton Zone at 6,088 and North Zone at 3,308.
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Kenney has faced scrutiny from multiple sides recently in response to his governments handling of the pandemic.
He unveiled new measures last week in hot spots across the province, including in Edmonton. Health-care professionals and the NDP have criticized those moves for coming too late and doing too little while members of his own party have questioned the effectiveness of public health measures.
Meantime, Kenney denounced a disturbing massive rodeo near Bowden Saturday in a series of tweets Sunday afternoon.
He said the event where hundreds openly flouted COVID-19 rules was not only a threat to public health, but a slap in the face to thousands of Albertans who are following restrictions.
On a personal note, Im angered and saddened to see so many people selfishly put themselves ahead of others. Rodeo celebrates Albertas Western heritage, a key part of which is our community spirit and looking out for others, especially the vulnerable, he wrote in one of a series of tweets.
I again implore Albertans to get vaccinated when its your turn and to follow the rules in your area. To those of you already doing this, thank you. To those who arent, please smarten up. The more people we have flouting the rules, the longer this pandemic will last.
Authorities did not appear to intervene during Saturdays rodeo.
With files from the Canadian Press