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NDP Demanding Public Inquiry To Outbreaks At Cargill And JBS

Premier Jason Kenney says his government followed the advice of provincial health officials in dealing with outbreaks a year ago, at meat packing plants in southern Alberta.
 
The opposition NDP is again demanding a full public inquiry into the outbreaks at Cargill and JBS about a year ago. "Blaming the workers for the health and safety hazards they faced because they went to work each and every day to provide important front line services for all Albertans, and then turning around and blaming workers for that, that is classic rejection of your obligation to keep working people safe," shares NDP Leader Rachel Notley.  "It's the kind of game playing you saw from employers a hundred years ago."
 
Hundreds of workers got sick and at least 3 died. The Cargill plant was shut down for two weeks. Premier Kenney says local health officials worked closely with both plants during the outbreaks and his office was briefed on a regular basis.
 
"All I can tell you, in my position, i received briefings from the public health branch of the department of health about the situation with those meat packing plant outbreaks.  That was the source of my knowledge and anything that I, or the government, communicated," comments Premier Jason Kenny.  "I'm not sure what the basis of that allegation is, all I can tell you is that the government was transparent about what we knew about the situation based on reports we got on the ground coming from the regional public medical personnel that were working with the employer and the union.  I'm glad that those plants have been operating safely for about nine months with being able to give good employment to thousands of Albertans.  I think they have had a small number of cases since then but I think it's a great credit to the workers, the unions, the employers, working in collaboration with the health officials to learn from those lessons in the spring." 
 
There was an outbreak of COVID recently at the Olymel pork plant in Red Deer. At least 500 employees got sick and four died.  That plant was shut for more than 2 weeks.
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