It seems many Albertans didn’t think Premier Jason Kenney should be the one presenting the province’s novel coronavirus modelling statistics on Wednesday.
Residents took to Twitter, expressing their confusion, anger and desire to hear the information from Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw, causing #BringBackDrHinshaw to trend in Alberta and across the country for some time.
Hinshaw has quickly become a trusted source for Albertans as she calmly delivers the latest news on the COVID-19 pandemic in Alberta.
It was a demeanor many seemed to miss when Kenney took the lead to present the modelling data, but many were also confused why a politician was presenting the information, rather than a medical professional.
“I presented the information because I’m the premier and, therefore, ultimately responsible for the government of Alberta’s response to this public health emergency,” Kenney said when he was asked why he was giving the information instead of Hinshaw on Wednesday.
“We are very fortunate to have, I think, the best chief medical officer in Canada in Dr. Hinshaw… who provides us with great advice that we follow and it’s advice based on data,” he continued.
“However, the response is broader than simply the public health aspect.”
“I think probably he would have been better off to have handed over the technical briefing to the expert,” Dr. Lisa Young, a professor with the school of public policy at the University of Calgary, said.
“I don’t think that anybody who doesn’t have specialized training is in good shape to talk about the projections and the models and linear vs. exponential growth and all of those other kinds of things.
That being said, Young thinks the online reaction was “totally disproportionate” as Albertans got the information and Hinshaw was there to answer any questions that popped up.
“There aren’t a set of rules here that’s he’s breaking. It’s a question of judgement.
“I think one of the important lessons for leaders to learn is when to be out there and be the face of something and when to let people on your team, who are excellent, have their moment,” she said.
“I think he might have got this one wrong, but it’s not a huge issue.”
Young did say that she felt it was “entirely appropriate” for Kenney to make his address the night before on his own and not have any health officials present.
On Thursday, Hinshaw was back, after a brief announcement from Health Minister Tyler Shandro, to announce Alberta has seen an additional 28 confirmed cases of COVID-19, bringing the province’s total to 1,451 cases.