Most provincial leaders would rather leave the COVID-19 pandemic in the rear-view mirror and stop any discussion or examination of it.

Premier Danielle Smith bucked the trend by having a panel formed to examine the government’s response to the pandemic and offer recommendations for actions in future emergencies. It has reopened the debate on what should or shouldn’t be done by the state in the event of emergencies, and while we may be tired of the subject, these issues must be discussed.

The panel was created in February 2023 and former federal opposition leader and Reform Party founder Preston Manning was appointed to head it. The results of the panel (Manning report) were just released and it made 90 recommendations.

One of the key recommendations was to shift authority for decision-making in public health issues into the hands of the government and cabinet rather than keeping it within the purview of the chief medical officer of health. Clarifying the authority of top bureaucrats and elected officials in the event of emergencies should help streamline government responses.

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