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EDMONTON, Alberta (LifeSiteNews) — The Alberta government under newly elected Libertarian-leaning Conservative Premier Danielle Smith has fully supported and encouraged the province’s health board to remove its last remaining COVID rule in place, which was a masking mandate for hospitals.

In a statement last week, Alberta Health Services (AHS) said it has rescinded a “continuous” hospital masking mandate for the public effective June 19. The mask mandate was first put in place in the spring of 2020.

“After careful review, Alberta Health Services (AHS) has rescinded continuous masking requirements. As of June 19, 2023, AHS will no longer require continuous masking at all AHS facilities, including Continuing Care and contracted sites,” AHS said.

As of June 19, Albertans visiting or working in a hospital, including medical staff, will no longer be mandated to wear a mask.

According to AHS, the decision to turf the mask mandate was made “based on a number of factors, including declining COVID-19 cases, testing positivity rate, wastewater data and hospital admission rates for respiratory illnesses in Alberta, as well as consultation with stakeholders including patients, families, advisory councils, clinicians and frontline managers.”

Despite lifting the mandate, AHS says it still “encourages” people to wear masks.

Smith, the leader of the United Conservative Party, was re-elected Premier in May with a majority government, defeating the socialist NDP.

She won on a pro-freedom platform but supports abortion.

When she took over the party from Jason Kenney late last year, Smith, who was firmly opposed to COVID vaccine and mask mandates, went as far as to ban school boards from being able to implement them.

Late last year, Smith fired the entire board of directors for AHS, all of whom oversaw the imposition of strict COVID mandates in the province.

On her first day on the job last fall, Smith made worldwide headlines for saying the “unvaccinated” were the “most discriminated against” group she saw in her lifetime.

Alberta is behind both Saskatchewan and British Columbia in dropping its hospital mask mandate. In May, Manitoba dropped its hospital masking mandate.

In Ontario and Quebec, hospital masking mandates are left up to individual health regions, with some keeping them and others doing away with them.

Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba are the only provinces in Canada as of now that do not mandate COVID shots for healthcare workers.

As reported by LifeSiteNews, worldwide data also shows there has been a large surge in what analysts and experts refer to as “excess deaths” since the rollout of the vaccines when compared with the pre-COVID period.

Studies have shown masking to be ineffective at limiting the spread of the coronavirus, with other reports indicating that prolonged masking is associated with a variety of negative health effects.