CANMORE – Miranda Rosin, the MLA for Banff-Kananaskis, was one of 16 UCP elected officials who signed a letter in opposition to the recently announced provincial public health restrictions.
The letter acknowledges the threat COVID-19 has on “the vulnerable members of our population,” but denounced Premier Jason Kenney’s Tuesday (April 7) announcement to return Alberta to Step 1 of public health restrictions.
They called the decision “backwards” and it “effectively abandoning the plan that Albertans had worked diligently over the past months to follow.”
It states the 16 MLAs heard from their constituents who were largely opposed to the provincial governments move.
“We are calling on our government colleagues to recognize the plea of our constituents. After 13 painstaking months of COVID-19 public health restrictions, we do not support the additional restrictions imposed on Albertans.”
The Outlook was unable to immediately reach Rosin via phone at her legislature, or two constituency offices, or by email Wednesday afternoon – shortly after the letter was released – and will update this story when she is available for comment.
In a Facebook post, she said she had received thousands of emails and hundreds of phone calls on citizens’ concerns. She noted as the representative for an area reliant on tourism, the pandemic has heavily affected residents.
“The need to progress forward, not backward, is dire,” she wrote in the April 7 post.
After yesterday's announcement that our province would be moving backwards, not forwards, reverting back a step in our...Posted by Miranda Rosin on Wednesday, April 7, 2021
When Kenney announced the restrictions Tuesday, he acknowledged he would likely get some pushback from members of his party.
"I've always welcomed a wide-ranging debate on how best to rise to the challenge of this pandemic. I just ask that the debate be informed by facts. Alberta is a diverse province, and that includes diversity of opinion," he said.
The restrictions come as new COVID-19 cases in Alberta and across the country have seen a dramatic increase, while other provinces have instituted strict measures.
The newest regulations reduce retail capacity to 15 per cent, close libraries and shutter indoor dining, though allow patio dining, takeout and curbside pickup. Indoor gatherings continue to be banned and outdoor gatherings are limited to 10 people.
As of Wednesday, there were 69 confirmed cases in the Banff and Lake Louise area, 41 in Canmore and five in the MD of Bighorn, which includes parts of the Stoney Nakoda First Nation.
Rosin has been familiar with controversy when it comes to skirting public health rules and voicing opposition to her own party.
In November, she sent out a newsletter saying “the worst of the COVID-19 health pandemic” was over. It was at a time when the province had yet to post record numbers of new cases, while her election area also steadily saw new and higher positive cases.
She also visited family in Saskatchewan during the Christmas holidays at a time when Albertan residents were supposed to restrict their travelling because of COVID-19.
Rosin, the rookie MLA, declined multiple interview requests with the Outlook at the time. She later confirmed in an interview with Mountain FM that while she left the province, she did not breach public health regulations because she lives alone and the regulations allowed her to visit another household over the holidays.
In January, she wrote an article for High Country News questioning the public health impacts of the restrictions for COVID-19.
She said many western societies had “gambled away their longstanding values of freedom and self-determination in surrender to fear and uncertainty” and “surrendered their personal freedoms to the government.”
She was also critical in a Facebook post earlier in the year of the economic impact of provincial decisions to curb the spread of COVID-19.
Rosin was the deputy chair of the select special Public Health Act review committee that made recommendations for consideration to the province late last year on possible amendments to the act.