Alberta NDP Leader Rachel Notley is blasting a report into Alberta’s handling of the Covid pandemic as an “invitation to reject science and normalize pseudo-science and conspiracy theories.”

The Public Health Emergencies Governance Review Panel, led by former Reform Party leader Preston Manning, released over 90 recommendations to refine Alberta’s future public health emergencies response, as previously reported by True North.

At a press conference, Notley said she was skeptical of the report. She repeatedly criticized the consideration of providing what she referred to as “horse tranquilizers” to Alberta patients as a means for caring for Covid.

“If you read between the lines in chapter three of this report, that’s exactly what they are calling for,” she said.

Chapter three of the report made no mention of horse tranquilizers. Nor did it mention ivermectin, which may have been what Notley was referring to. Ivermectin, which was approved for human use in 1987, was controversially recommended by some physicians for off-label use as a treatment for Covid, though public health officials advised against this.

The report said the government should be “open to considering and investigating alternative scientific narratives and hypotheses, even at the risk of acknowledging some uncertainty as to which scientific narratives are most relevant to the emergency at hand.” 

During her press conference, Notley also defended the vaccine passport. 

“The prohibition on so-called coercion would likely be used to negate ideas like the vaccine passport system,” she said. 

She added that the rewrite is about putting the rights of individuals over community wellbeing. 

Referring to a hypothetical situation, Notley said that Premier Danielle Smith and Manning would argue that if your house starts on fire, you should have the right to let it keep burning, even though it’s catching on to your neighbour’s house. 

Notley also condemned Smith’s decision to appoint Lyle Oberg, a doctor and former Progressive Conservative cabinet minister, to run the Alberta Health Services board. 

Oberg was the co-author of a 1993 report that supported fee-based non-essential healthcare services.

“[Oberg] tried to start Canada’s first for-profit private hospital, which ended in a maze of lawsuits before they could break ground,” Notley said, highlighting another of her concerns.

Notley also touted a bill from an NDP member of the legislative assembly, Bill 201. Following addressing her critiques and concerns, Notley said that Gurinder Brar, a Calgary NDP member, introduced Bill 201 in legislature earlier this month. 

Notley said the Alberta Health Care Insurance (Access Fees) Amendment Act would protect Albertans’ rights to access health care without ever having to worry about whether they can afford it and would strengthen accountability measures and clearly outline the penalties for any provider that tries to violate the act.

“Danielle Smith and Lyle Oberg are not allies of public health care,” Notley alleged.

Alberta’s minister of health, Adriana LaGrange, has refuted this.

“There is no privatization of healthcare. It is publicly funded public healthcare we’re talking about,” LaGrange said. 

“The UCP can vote in favour of it on Monday, or conversely, they can come clean with Albertans about their plans to privatize our health care,” Notley added.