May 2, 2021
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has gone on a tirade against the No More Lockdowns Rodeo – calling it the exact opposite of the cowboy spirit.
Kenney called the rodeo, attended by about 4,000 people over the weekend, “disturbing.”
“It is disturbing to see large numbers of people gathering this weekend at Bowden in flagrant violation of COVID-19 public health measures,” Kenney said on his Facebook page.
“We are all sick of this. We all want it to end. Thousands of Albertans are following the rules, sacrificing travel and social gatherings to do their part to stop the spread of COVID-19. Not only are gatherings like this a threat to public health, they are a slap in the face to everybody who is observing the rules to keep themselves and their fellow Albertans safe.
“On a personal note, I’m angered and saddened to see so many people selfishly put themselves ahead of others. Rodeo celebrates Alberta’s Western heritage, a key part of which is our community spirit and looking out for others, especially the vulnerable. That’s the opposite of what these folks are doing.”
On Saturday, the Alberta Health Services announced a record daily toll of 2,433 COVID-19 cases. The total dropped on Sunday to 1,731. A total of 648 people are hospitalized. with 155 in ICU.
“The reason we are at this critical stage of the pandemic in Alberta, with record high daily case counts and intensive care numbers, is precisely because too many Albertans are ignoring the rules we currently have in place,” said Kenney.
“If we do not begin to bend the curve, our health care system could very well be overwhelmed in a matter of weeks. I again implore Albertans to get vaccinated when it’s your turn and to follow the rules in your area. To those of you already doing this, thank you. To those who aren’t, please smarten up. The more people we have flouting the rules, the longer this pandemic will last.”
The organizer of the rodeo, Ty Northcott comes from a historic rodeo family and opened up his own livestock ranch in the late ’80s.
But the three Alberta COVID-19 lockdowns have hit his business hard, leaving him with only 50% of his normal stock because the costs of wintering and feeding them depleted his bank account.
He decided to hold the rodeo as a protest to the Kenney government’s COVID-19 restrictions.
Northcott, on Sunday afternoon, told the crowd the event was such as success he will hold another one July 1.