Delivered via email on May 5th, 2021
Dear Mr. Jordan Walker, MLA, and Premier Jason Kenney,
On Friday, March 5th, 2021, my 18-year old son was completing an inspection of one of our low-income rental suites. Upon entering, he discovered our tenant deceased on the couch, pills and empty beer bottles scattered on the floor. Evidently, he had been there for days prior to this discovery.
On his desk was a substance abuse worksheet that asked him to fill in the blanks with the names of people he could meet with if he was struggling. He had drawn a giant question mark over this section.
Afterward, when I was speaking with the tenant’s family member to arrange for the pickup of his few belongings, we learned his sister had committed suicide the week prior.
This event combined with other stories of mental health struggles I was encountering in my community motivated me to start a free, weekly outdoor fitness class in the Edmonton river valley for groups of up to 10. There is abundant research that shows the powerful cascade of positive impacts to physical, mental, and psychological well-being when you combine exercise + nature + people.
You can imagine my frustration to see that in the new restrictions announced on May 4, 2021, this free community resource, and many other similar programs, are now prohibited.
Activities like these are part of the solution to our current situation and to building a long-term pandemic-resistant population. They are not part of the problem.
I am not a COVID denier, I recognize we must make sacrifices to reduce the spread of this virus. However, scientific data is always interpreted and weighted through our own lens of values and experiences, and in this voter’s opinion, the restriction of outdoor fitness is putting too much weight on one data set, while not providing enough weight on others.
Please reconsider this restriction quickly, there is much at stake.
I recognize the impossible job that you as our elected officials are tasked with and I thank you for all you have done to help Alberta get through this.