Leduc County mayor says she never agreed to sign letter calling for vaccine passports in Alberta

Author of the article:

Ashley Joannou

Publishing date:

Sep 09, 2021  •  4 hours ago  •  3 minute read  •  8 Comments

Leduc County Mayor Tanni Doblanko.
Leduc County Mayor Tanni Doblanko. Photo by Ian Kucerak /Postmedia, file

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An Edmonton-area mayor whose name appeared at the bottom of a public letter calling for the province to implement vaccine passports says she did not agree to sign the final version.

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The letter, made public Tuesday and signed by a dozen mayors in the region, went through multiple drafts in the week leading up to its release. It also asks for better regional COVID-19 data.

Leduc County Mayor Tanni Doblanko told Postmedia Wednesday that the version she agreed to sign asked for more data for municipalities but made no mention of vaccine passports.

“During the long weekend, a significant rewriting of the letter happened by a committee of mayors on email and it continued to adjust,” she said.

Doblanko said she told Stony Plain Mayor William Choy, who was coordinating the letter, that she needed time to consult with the rest of her council, but when the final version was released to the public the next day her name was on it.

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“I had, over the weekend, kind of glanced at the changes and some of them were, you know, substantial track changes. But I always sort of assumed that before it went out you would give it the yay or nay like I did with the first (version of the) letter,”  she said.

In an interview with Postmedia Thursday, Choy acknowledged that it was a mistake to include Doblanko’s name.

“It was an oversight. She was approved on the first (version of the) letter, so her name was on there. It just wasn’t taken out because going through all the emails we missed it,” he said.

Doblanko said she’s not comfortable having her name on a letter calling for vaccine passports.

“We don’t believe in Leduc County that we have the expertise to say that that’s a good idea, or not a good idea. … We want to remain somewhat neutral. We have managed through the first three waves of the pandemic in Leduc County by following and respecting Alberta Health Services guidelines,” she said.

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“And so if Alberta Health Services decides to put in something else, we will follow it, but we really don’t believe that it’s our place to step up and make recommendations, health recommendations, when we don’t have that expertise.”

Postmedia reached out to all 12 of the mayors whose names were on the public letter. The mayors of Edmonton, Strathcona County and St. Albert all confirmed that they agreed to sign the letter that was released and stand by what’s in it.

The mayors of Spruce Grove, Parkland County, Morinville, Sturgeon County and the City of Leduc did not respond.

Devon Mayor Ray Ralph’s office said he thought he was agreeing to sign an earlier version of the letter and he would not have signed the version with the call for vaccine passports because he feels it is not his place to make that recommendation as an elected official.

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“The draft of the letter that he had read focused on advocating for stronger support from the Government of Alberta for municipalities as again, they do not have the expertise to make informed medical decisions for residents,” spokesperson Justin Janke said in an email.

Beaumont Mayor John Stewart said his focus when he signed was the call for more data.

“It’s unfortunate that things like vaccine passports got added to the letter after the fact and it’s distracting from that message but my focus has always been the data,” he said.

He said vaccine passports are a provincial responsibility and those decisions should be made by the province “so they should be encouraged to look at them.”

The government has not publicly responded to the letter.



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