Kenney uses harm reduction argument to justify lottery for Albertans who get vaccinated

It sort of makes sense that a man who bet $ 1.3 billion of other people’s money on the US presidential horse race last summer wants the idea of ​​a lottery to bring Albertans in Vaccine skeptics to roll up their sleeves for a COVID-19 hit in numbers enough to justify the Calgary Stampede opening next month.

So it shouldn’t have been a total surprise that Alberta Premier Jason Kenney raised the possibility of yesterday’s COVID-19 briefing a cash lottery for lucky Albertans who register to get vaccinated.

“I’ve asked the Department of Health to come up with options on incentives, including a possible lottery for people getting vaccinated, and, uh, work is underway with that,” said Kenney, the biggest. loser of North America in the high-stakes 2020 US election. If you don’t count Donald Trump and a few dozen of his supporters caught stirring up an insurgency in Washington on January 6.

“There are a lot of creative suggestions,” Kenney happily revealed to a questioning reporter.

“I know when Ohio led the pack on this, about three, four weeks ago, there was a lot of, uh, ridicule directed at them, but they actually saw, they saw an increase. Immediate and huge immunization rates, especially among those parts of the population that across North America have experienced relatively low immunization rates.

“So I asked for a little more research to be done, uhhh, on this,” he continued, saying he expects Health Minister Tyler Shandro “to come back. our emergency management committee with options on that, uh, next Monday. “

I don’t know about you dear readers, but listening to the recording of the press conference it’s hard to shake off the feeling that Kenney was winning.

Still, it was baffling to realize that Kenney was using what amounts to a harm reduction argument to justify the idea of ​​giving citizens who don’t want to take a life-saving vaccine a chance to win a big wad of cash provided by the taxpayers. Anything to open the Stampede, I guess.

“We just want to make sure that the cost of this would be justified by, uh, vaccine uptake, in part by looking at how it worked in the United States, ”he explained. (Our emphasis.)

Remember, it is the party leader who always opposed harm reduction strategies when harms are caused by drugs, which killed more than 1,300 Albertans in 2020, compared to approximately 1,200 people died from COVID-19 in the same year.

“We are seeing predictable low vaccine consumption among young people, young men in particular,” he told the reporter.

“And I don’t think it’s necessarily because of the misinformation about vaccines. I think healthy young people generally think they are less vulnerable to a disease like this. And they are right about it! But what we have to persuade them is that they have a social responsibility to their parents, to the vulnerable, to the community at large.. ” (I underline.)

“And if one way to get their attention to make that reservation, or come for the jab at a walk-in clinic, is to sign them up for some sort of raffle, then it might be worth it. do, “he said. “So we haven’t made any final decisions, but we are looking at it seriously.”

One wonders what the so-called tax watchdogs of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CFF) would do with them? Probably nothing, considering what the organization has said about the $ 1.3 billion their former CEO lost.

That’s when Chief Medical Officer of Health Deena Hinshaw stepped in to say that “if there is a choice to be offered, anyone who has their first dose can come in, so don’t wait if you make a first -dose appointment. are will be eligible if a lottery takes place. “

But … expect! Does this mean that if you have been a good citizen and have already received or purchased your second dose, you habit to qualify for the big cash payment? I was just asking.

And what will be done to protect Albertans from crooks like those who rob Californians telling them that they just won the state immunization lottery and that if they just hand over their bank account numbers and passwords, the money will be deposited right away?

Even more Californians will likely receive such calls next Tuesday when the state prepares to distribute 10 prizes of $ 1.5 million.

Following the Prime Minister’s approach to harm reduction, perhaps we could expand this program to lower health care costs, for example using cash prizes to encourage those who don’t particularly appreciate their annual prostate exam!

Inevitably, I guess, Kenney quickly moved on to a moving defense of the big risk he took last year by betting on Trump’s success in November.

Answering a question about softball from one of the far-right online publications, he is do not threatening to sue, Kenney argued that the big bet on the capacity of TC Energy Corp. to complete the Keystone XL pipeline was a sensible response to these “foreign-funded green left pressure groups.”

“If we had not made this investment, I can tell you that TC Energy would have ended its project in the fall of 2019,” he said. (If you’re wondering why this would have been a bad thing, I can’t offer any help.)

“We think that at certain strategic times it is necessary, if we are to have a future for our energy workers, it is necessary that sometimes the government intervenes to ‘reduce the risks’ of projects that have become too risky on the ground. capital markets. ” (Again, one wonders what the CTF would do with this anthem to governments picking winners and losers.)

“And there is a pipe in the ground,” he concluded. “And who knows what’s going to happen in three years.” (Oh oh ! Well, for the future, don’t say you weren’t warned!)

There is no such thing as a Jason Kenney press conference for Cognitive Dissonance.

David Climenhaga, author of the Alberta Diary blog, is a journalist, author, journalism professor, poet and union broadcaster who has held senior editorial and editing positions at The Globe and Mail and the Calgary Herald.

Image credit: Chris Schwarz / Government of Alberta / Flickr

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