Innisfail board to formalize community COVID policy


Motion presented to strengthen the position of the Town of Innisfail, it will strictly follow provincial guidelines for pandemic management

INNISFAIL – Mayor Jean Barclay presented a notice of motion to all members of council which aims to formalize the city’s position, he will faithfully follow the example of the provincial government on the directives and restrictions to fight against COVID.

The move is also intended to blunt repeated attempts by opponents of the COVID restrictions posing as delegations that have either repeatedly asked the council to remove the restrictions imposed by the province or lobbied on their behalf to have them removed. .

“We have said time and time again that we will follow provincial guidelines. We have to do it. I just hope that will formalize this process, ”Barclay said. “(Delegations) come. We listen to them – three times now. We tell them what our position is, but again they come back.

“No one is trying to silence anyone or not allow them their freedom of speech, but at the same time, I don’t know how we can get our message across otherwise,” she said, adding that the administration had also requested legal advice on how to manage delegations which repeatedly speak on the same subject. “We have said time and time again that we are going to follow the provincial public health policies and ministerial orders in place, and they keep coming back and wanting us not to.”

Barclay gave council an overview of his notice of motion at the December 20 Agenda and Priorities meeting. It will be presented to the board and discussed at the next regular meeting on January 10.

The motion calls on the town of Innisfail to continue complying with the Alberta government’s COVID-19 health orders and that council not ask the province to lift restrictions on facilities.

Barclay noted that there had been three delegation presentations to Innisfail City Council since October, each of them vehemently against COVID restrictions.

She said the council had had a meeting the previous week with Innisfail-Sylvan Lake MLA Devin Dreeshen about the planned resolution.

Barclay said that bringing in a motion gives every council member a chance to speak, as well as formalize the municipality‘s position on the issue.

“I think with the news coming from parts of the country right now with what is going on, it would be wise for the board to formalize our position one way or the other, or if people want to vote on it. “said Barclay. “We’ll see how the board votes. Let every councilor have a say in it, and see where everyone stands and vote.

“As we know, when the board votes for or against something that is the board’s position on that particular issue,” she said.

On December 20, the mayor invited the rest of council to comment on his introduction of the notice of motion, but only council. Gavin Bates accepted Barclay’s invitation at this time.

“I’ve been thinking about it for a little less than two years now. I guess I think the (provincial) government has the expertise and the authority, and to that end, I will definitely be supporting the motion, ”Bates said.

As to whether his presentation of the potentially emotional notice of motion was a test of leadership so early in his tenure, Barclay said it was more of an attempt to get the whole board to have its say. to say on an issue of critical importance to the whole community. .

“I’m not saying this will make the problem go away, but we are governing for the municipality,” Barclay said. “There are people on one end of the spectrum who don’t want any restrictions and think COVID isn’t serious, or something to worry about. There are people on the other end of the spectrum who don’t want to leave their homes, or maybe caring for someone who has cancer, or caring for the elderly in a nursing home. old people, and they’re very, very careful.

“They (the delegations) are asking us to do something that we don’t have the power to do,” Barclay said. “I guess that’s what it comes down to.”