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The Hill Update - February 25

Dean talks about the government making mandatory quarantine in select hotels when returning to Canada by air, and Bill C-7 (Medical Assistance in Dying).

I’m sure you are aware about the government’s use of mandatory hotel quarantines for travellers returning to Canada. And yes, the plan is already in place. Ottawa has approved 11 hotels in the Montreal, Toronto, Calgary, and Vancouver regions — the only four airports in Canada currently accepting international flights.

In order to board the plane flying to Canada, you must have a negative PCR COVID test.

Upon arrival in one of the four airports, you will once again be tested and await the results in a federally-approved hotel. These hotels could cost between 1500 to 3000 dollars.

What you may not have heard, however, is the evidence that supports the use of these mandatory hotels.

In regards to Bill C-7: the government should increase funding for palliative care, and provide better supports for people living with disabilities and for those suffering from mental health issues.

Does the data say that they are more effective than quarantining at home while you await your COVID test results? How about rapid testing? What happened to the government’s plans to put rapid testing into widespread use……especially in airports…..?

Rapid tests were being used in Alberta as part of a pilot project for returning travellers. But because of the federal government’s new policy, Alberta has suspended this program.

Alberta’s own, Michelle Remple-Garner – Conservative Shadow Minister for Health – recently asked numerous senior government officials from the Public Health Agency of Canada about the effectiveness of quarantine hotels as opposed to quarantining at home or rapid testing.

In fact, she asked them twice. Both times she was met with silence. They couldn’t answer. They didn’t have the data, and this data is the evidence. You can watch the video on her Facebook page. It’s quite something.

What this means, is the government put in place mandatory hotel quarantines for all returning passengers, and yet government officials didn’t know whether this policy would be effective or not.

In the last few days there has been reports of sexual violence at a Montreal facility and the conservatives are calling for suspension of the program until the government can assure travellers of their safety, I’m sure there will be more on this in the coming days

Lastly, because the hotels are mandatory for all arriving passengers, there’s already criticism from Constitutional law experts saying that forced quarantine of returning Canadians is a serious violation of Sections 6, 7, 9, 10, and 11 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Jay Cameron, litigation director at the Justice Centre, says that “If a Canadian tests positive in Canada, they quarantine in their house.” And “There’s no reason for a returning Canadian to be compelled to quarantine in a federal facility under threat of arrest and a large fines.”

Mandatory hotel quarantines are no doubt a contentious issue and we’ll probably hear a lot more about them in the future.

What’s also contentious is – Bill C-7, also known as the Medical Assistance in Dying Bill, or MAiD for short.

This is a very sensitive piece of legislation.

On Tuesday, MP’s debated the Senate amendments to the Bill.

There were a few amendments included, one of the most critical was, that mental illness can be the sole underlying reason for choosing MAID.

The Trudeau government agrees with the senate on this amendment.

Persons with disabilities and medical professionals say that the expansion of MAID in Bill C-7 is dangerous and requires more scrutiny.

There are also those who feel that rather than focusing on ending life, the government should increase funding for palliative care, and provide better supports for people living with disabilities and for those suffering from mental health issues.

Disability rights advocates maintain that Bill C-7 sends a message that life with a disability is a fate far worse than death.

I believe it is the government’s job to protect everyone, especially the vulnerable and uphold Canadians’ constitutional rights.

I don’t believe and many of my conservative colleagues would also agree that the Senate amendments, and the government’s support for these amendments, don’t go far enough to protect those most vulnerable, especially seniors and those living with mental illness and disabilities.

Liberal MPs will vote for the Bill. At this point, it’s not clear how the NDP and the Bloc will vote.

The Conservative Party, and their members will have a free vote, and I for one will not be supporting the amendments or the bill.

And that is “The Hill Update” for this week.

When we come back from break we are going to find out one of the reasons we have become so dependant on China for everything we buy?

When we come back, we will be talking with Jocelyn Bamford, and will be discussing the state of manufacturing in Canada!

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