The Hill Update - April 15


Dean shares what the government has been (or not been) doing in relation to the ongoing pandemic. Clearly the federal government is having issues with delays in getting vaccines to Canada. This issue has been in the news since the end of last year. How many times in the last 4 months have we heard that Ottawa can’t get enough vaccines and is unable to get them quickly, putting our vaccination rate behind many other countries.




It’s been a difficult year for all Canadians, and frankly, for all people across the world. The global pandemic has affected virtually all aspects of life.


All levels of our Government here in Canada had to respond, and had to respond quickly to save lives. They put in place measures to help soften the blows of this horrible virus.


How did Canada fare in its response? Specifically, how well did our federal government do?


Before anything, let’s admit that no one thought a pandemic would be something they would live through.

Virtually no one thought it was a realistic possibility in this day and age – so we can’t expect our federal government to not make mistakes when dealing with a totally new situation.


“The picture that really emerges is that Canada failed on pre-pandemic preparation, stumbled in its mid-pandemic responses, and continues to lack a clear end-of-pandemic game plan.”

To their credit, they rolled out programs that helped many Canadians over the last year. But where did they go wrong?


Many would say “delays” – delays in procuring vaccines being one of the most critical missteps. In fact, our American friends have noticed our wobbly vaccination program and have started reporting on it.


They are comparing their vaccination rate of 30% to that of Canada’s 12%. Those are the stats so far for getting at least one vaccine dose. So the US at 30%, and Canada at 12%. Huge difference.


Clearly the federal government is having issues with delays in getting vaccines to Canada. This issue has been in the news since the end of last year. How many times in the last 4 months have we heard that Ottawa can’t get enough vaccines and is unable to get them quickly, putting our vaccination rate behind many other countries.


This is concerning considering that some zoo animals in the Oakland Zoo might have access to a vaccine before many Canadians. Unfortunately, this is not a joke.


In addition, in a recent report assessing the government’s pandemic response, the auditor general had a lot to say about Ottawa’s missteps in handling the pandemic. For example, the auditor general reports that Canada’s Public Health Agency was unprepared for the pandemic and 'underestimated' the danger the virus posed.

The report also found failures in early warning, surveillance, risk assessments, data-sharing with the provinces, and follow-up on Canadian travelers who were ordered into quarantine.


When the government called over a million Canadians home last year, they had not implemented the necessary tools to monitor returning travelers, and they didn’t have the ability to enforce quarantine.

The government was slow to see temperature scanners or rapid tests as useful screening aids for international travelers.


On the issue of closing the border – Ottawa again was slow to react. In fact, the government only took action after the rest of the world did.

The government even accused its critics of racism – critics who were calling for immediate border closures given the gravity of the virus in Asia, Europe and the Middle East.


The auditor general’s report also says that Canada’s Public Health Agency did not know whether two-thirds of incoming travelers followed quarantine orders.


Domestically, Canada was also slow to change course on recommendations for medical mask-wearing for health and long-term care workers on the front lines, and for the public.


In short, Ottawa was unprepared and slow to react.


The Toronto Star had this to say: “Canada didn't act nimbly or swiftly. And it should stop pretending as though it did.”


The author goes on to say that, “[the response] has been sluggish and slow, often trailing other countries' moves. The Trudeau government made assumptions it never should have.”


And lastly the article’s assessment of the response is this: “The picture that really emerges is that Canada failed on pre-pandemic preparation, stumbled in its mid-pandemic responses, and continues to lack a clear end-of-pandemic game plan.”


Those are strong statements from a publication that is usually much friendlier to the Trudeau government, indicating that even within its support base, the government is facing serious criticism for how it’s handled the pandemic.


Noticing these mistakes, Conservative Leader, Erin O’Toole, says that if he is elected Prime Minister, he will initiate a public inquiry to examine every aspect of the government’s pandemic response.


O’Toole says that “The inquiry will ensure that all lessons learned from the crisis are publicly aired and learnings can immediately be adopted.”


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