Mayoral candidate Jan Damery, along with five other Calgary city council candidates, called for a city-driven COVID-19 response plan.
The group made the announcement outside the historic Calgary city hall Monday morning.
Damery was joined by Erin Waite and Marilyn North Peigan from Ward 7, Courtney Walcott in Ward 8, Lori Masse in Ward 9 and Kourtney Branagan in Ward 11.
Damery said that Calgary city council hasn’t managed to get the eight members together to call for a special meeting of council. The province hasn’t taken any additional action either, she said.
“If the province won’t act, I will,” Damery said.
“Right now, we need to secure our recovery and prevent another lockdown. That means taking decisive action to increase vaccine uptake and protect people from the fourth wave without closing businesses.”
Under Damery’s COVID response plan, the city would reinstate the mask mandate and increase transit service on popular routes to prevent overcrowding. Proof of vaccination could be an exemption to mandatory masking. Without vaccination, citizens wouldn’t be able to remove their masks in indoor public settings such as gyms, restaurants and bars.
The City of Calgary postponed its mandatory return to office scheduled for later this month. The city hasn’t been clear on mandatory vaccination for employees but said it would explore a rapid testing program.
Other city groups, like the Calgary Flames and Stampeders ownership, has made it mandatory for fans and staff to have vaccines to attend events.
Coun. Jyoti Gondek, who is also running for mayor, has been pushing for a special meeting of council. Some councillors have expressed support. The city may get a COVID-19 update at the Sept. 13 meeting of council.
Clear protocol: Waite
Ward 7 candidate Erin Waite acknowledged that Calgarians are tired of the on-again, off-again health protocols.
She lent her support to the idea of a vaccine passport and indoor mandatory masking. She said it’s particularly important for businesses to have that guidance. Waite said some employers, who are bound by law to provide a safe workplace, are unable to guarantee it to employees. That’s hitting the non-profit and social sector hard.
“Having led a non-profit through the pandemic, I know that social services providers have been
on quicksand,” she said.
“It’s time to support their ability to manage with clear mandates for vaccinations
and mask wearing. It’s a matter of client and employee safety and affects hundreds of
thousands of Calgarians. It’s also the quickest way to get our economy up and running,” said
Damery said that current councillors are failing to protect Calgarians.
“We need leadership that can bring people together and get things done. I’ve proven that I can do that. And it’s not something I’ve seen from other Mayoral candidates” said Damery.