October 18

What are the Trudeau Liberals hiding on COVID?

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By now you’ve heard about the Liberals shutting down two different Commons committees to block the release of documents related to the WE Scandal but did you know they were blocking health questions as well?

Last week the House committees of finance and ethics saw massive filibusters by the Liberals. For almost 12 hours at finance and more than 8 at ethics, Liberals read in parts of the newspaper, the throne speech – anything they could – all to stop the full release of documents promised before prorogation.

Also blocking at health committee

Did you know they also blocked attempts by the opposition to find out more about the government’s response to COVID-19 at the Commons committee on health?

Conservative Health Critic Michelle Rempel Garner held a news conference on this issue on Sunday afternoon.

On Friday, October 9 the Commons Standing Committee on Health spent hours with Liberal MPs speaking against a motion, supported by all opposition parties, to have the committee examine the government response.

You can review the full motion below but the highlights would include looking into rapid resting and home testing, vaccine development, the availability of therapeutics, screening of travellers, impacts on mental health, the emergency stockpile of PPE and the government’s actions on the changes to the early warning system.

There are a lot more points that are listed in the motion presented by the Conservatives but that is to be expected. If they tried to ask questions about a part of the government’s response the Liberals could try and have it declared out of order.

What are the Liberals afraid of?

The real sticking point for the Liberals is likely the attempt to obtain emails, documents and more from the government of changes to the Global Public Health Intelligence Network. This was the early warning system for pandemics that the Globe and Mail has done some great work covering.

Originally set-up in the late 90s to provide evidence of possible pandemics or health crises around the world, the organization within the Public Health Agency of Canada was severely weakened starting in 2018 and through 2019.

Those are government decisions, the reasons for which, will come out one way or another. That the health committee would be blocked by the Liberals from looking into this as part of their overall review of the government response to COVID-19 is unthinkable.

The Liberals blocked MPs at the last meeting, they meet at 11am ET on Monday. Let’s hope they do the right thing.

If not, they obviously have much to hide.

The full motion:

Notice of Motion
Hon. Michelle Rempel Garner, P.C., M.P.
Friday, October 9, 2020

That, pursuant to standing order 108(2), the Standing Committee on Health commence a study on the emergency situation facing Canadians in light of the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, and that this study evaluate, review and examine all issues relevant to this situation, including the following: a) rapid and at home testing approvals and procurement process and schedule, and protocol for distribution;
b) vaccine development and approvals process, procurement schedules and protocol for distribution; c) federal public health guidelines and the data being used to inform them for greater clarity on efficacy; d) current long-term care facility COVID-19 protocols as it pertains solely to federal jurisdiction; e) the availability of therapeutics and treatment devices for Canadians diagnosed with COVID-19; f) the early warning system Global Public Health Information Network (GPHIN); g) the government’s progress in evaluating pre or post arrival rapid testing for travellers; h) the availability of paid sick leave for those in quarantine and voluntary isolation; j) the adequacy of health transfer payments to the provinces in light of the COVID-19 crisis; k) the impact of the government’s use of WHO advice in early 2020, decision to delay the closure of borders and delay in the recommendation of wearing of masks on the spread of COVID-19 in Canada l) the Public Health Agency of Canada’s communication strategy regarding COVID-19; m) the development, efficacy and use of data related to the federal government’s COVID-19 Alert application;
n) the impacts of COVID-19 on mental health;
o) Canada’s level of preparedness to respond to another pandemic, and;
p) the availability of PPE in Canada and a review of Canada’s emergency stockpile of Personal Protective Equipment between 2015 and present;
q) The government’s contact tracing protocol, including options considered, technology, timelines and resources, and;
r) the government’s consideration of and decision not to invoke the federal Emergencies Act; that this study begin no later than October 20, 2020, that the Committee table its findings in the House upon completion, that the government provide a response to these findings within 30 sitting days, and that evidence and documentation received by the Committee during its study of the Canadian response to the outbreak of the corona virus commenced during the 1st Session of the 43rd Parliament be taken into consideration by the Committee in the current study.

  1. That in order to fully study this emergency situation;
    (a) an order of the committee do issue for all memoranda, e-mails, documents, notes or other records from the Prime Minister’s Office, the Privy Council Office, the Office of the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Office of the Minister of Health, Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada, concerning options, plans and preparations for the Global Public Health Integration Network, since January 1, 2018, provided that these documents, organized by department, shall be provided to the clerk of the committee within thirty days of the adoption of this motion;
    (b) an order of the committee do issue for a record of all communications between the government and the World Health Organization in respect of options, plans or preparations for any future operation, or absence thereof, of the Global Public Health Integration Network, since January 1, 2018 provided that
    these documents, organized by department, shall be provided to the clerk of the committee within thirty days of the adoption of this motion ;
    (c) an order of the committee do issue for all memoranda, e-mails, documents, notes and other records from the Prime Minister’s Office, the Privy Council Office, the office of the Minister of Public Services and Procurement, the office of the Minister of Health, Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada, concerning plans, preparations, approvals and purchasing of testing products including tests, reagents, swabs, laboratory equipment and other material related to tests and testing applications used in the diagnosis of COVID-19, since March 19th, 2020, provided that these documents, organized by department, shall be provided to the clerk of the committee within thirty days of the adoption of this motion;
    (d) an order of the committee do issue for all memoranda, e-mails, documents, notes and other records from the Prime Minister’s Office, the Privy Council Office, the office of the Minister of Public Services and Procurement, the office of the Minister of Health, Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada concerning plans, preparations and purchasing of personal protective equipment including gowns, gloves, masks, respirators, visors and face shields since, March 19th, 2020, provided that these documents, organized by department, shall be provided to the clerk of the committee within thirty days of the adoption of this motion;
    (e) an order of the committee do issue for all memoranda, emails, documents, notes and other records inclusive of correspondence with contracting firms and companies, from the Prime Minister’s Office, the Privy Council Office, the office of the Minister of Public Services and Procurement and the office of the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry concerning plans, preparations, article 1.3 designations, and purchasing of ventilators since March 19th, 2020, provided that these documents, organized by department, shall be provided to the clerk of the committee within thirty days of the adoption of this motion; and
    (f) that, to protect against the premature disclosure of national security matters, or personal privacy information, contained in the documents provided to the clerk prior to the release of the documents by the Clerk of the Committee, any potential redactions be undertaken by the Office of the Law Clerk and Parliamentary Counsel, provided that the process for redactions begin the day after the documents have been provided to the clerk of the committee, and shall last no longer than seven days, unless granted an extension by unanimous vote of the committee, and (i) that redactions be limited to the protection of national security matters, or personal privacy information to the exclusion of all other reasons, and (ii) that in the event of a request for an extension the request be accompanied by the release of all documents for which redactions have already been completed, and (iii) that in the event of multiple requests for extension, all documents for which redactions have been completed since the last request for an extension must accompany any additional requests for extension, and (iv) no request for an extension may exceed seven days and all extensions shall be granted only by unanimous vote of the members of the committee
    (g) Seven days after all documents have been provided to the Clerk of the Committee or the deadlines for their production have elapsed, as the case may be, and the redaction process mentioned in subparagraph (b)(ii) has concluded, invite the Minister of Health, the Minister of Public Services and Procurement, the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, and the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry each to appear separately before the committee for at least three hours, provided that in respect of each of them who does not agree, within one week of the adoption of this motion, to accept this invitation for the length of time prescribed, the Chair shall be instructed to report to the House forthwith a recommendation that this committee be empowered to order his or her appearance from time to time;

Tags

COVID, covid-19, health, Justin Trudeau, Michelle Rempel Garner, Notorious MRG


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