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Premier Brian Pallister says he doesn’t want to tell other premiers how to handle the pandemic in their province.

Except, maybe, Quebec.

"I don’t want to get into quarterbacking other provinces," Manitoba’s premier said when asked if he had any advice for Alberta as it sees COVID-10 cases surging at a rate approaching that of his province, the highest in the country.

"Every premier is doing their absolute best," Pallister told a press conference Tuesday. "Not every province has to take exactly the same approach," the premier said.

However, Quebec's plan to allow gatherings at Christmas is the wrong approach, he said.

"I think it's dangerous what the Quebec premier's decided to announce on Christmas (gatherings)," Pallister said.

Last Thursday, Quebec Premier Francois Legault said the province would allow gatherings of up to 10 people from Dec. 24 to 27. Legault’s holiday reprieve asks those who are gathering to self-isolate for seven days before and after their events.

Then, on Tuesday, Quebec revised the plan, asking Quebecers to limit themselves to just two gatherings during the four days.

MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS</p><p>“Every premier is doing their absolute best,” Premier Brian Pallister told a press conference Tuesday.</p>

MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

“Every premier is doing their absolute best,” Premier Brian Pallister told a press conference Tuesday.

That's two too many, if you ask Manitoba's premier.

"The right thing to do is not to tell people you can get together in a larger group at the holiday season," Pallister said. "As tempting as that is, I think it's a mistake."

The rate of COVID-19 cases in the last seven days in Quebec was 96 per 100,000 population, compared to Manitoba's 201 cases per 100,000 people— highest among the provinces — the latest Health Canada data shows.

Alberta, where case numbers are climbing, had 188 cases per 100,000.

Pallister said he’s been called the Grinch by one newspaper, but he’s not "trying to deprive people of a wonderful Christmas."

"I'm trying make sure we define Christmas differently so next year we can all be together at Christmas," he said. "That’s a different way to celebrate…. It’s the right way to celebrate."

 

carol.sanders@freepress.mb.ca

Carol Sanders

Carol Sanders
Legislature reporter

After 20 years of reporting on the growing diversity of people calling Manitoba home, Carol moved to the legislature bureau in early 2020.

   Read full biography