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Results: 1 - 15 of 4874
View Taylor Bachrach Profile
NDP (BC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I'd like to start by thanking all of our witnesses for their work over the past years in what have been some pretty extraordinary circumstances for our country.
I'd like to pick up where my colleague, Mr. Garon, left off on talking about the travel mandates. This issue has affected a lot of people in the riding I represent. I know that several of those measures have since been lifted, but at the same time, people are frustrated by the lack of explanation as to what the criteria were and how the decision-making process worked.
I'd like to start by going back to earlier in the pandemic when the vaccine became widely available and the government chose to put the vaccine mandate for domestic travel in place. These were rules that prevented unvaccinated people from travelling on airplanes and trains within the country.
Ms. Thompson, could you speak to how those rules were designed to work? I'm trying to get at the heart of this. What is the mechanism or what was the specific risk that was being managed when those rules were first brought in?
View Taylor Bachrach Profile
NDP (BC)
Can I take it, from your response, Ms. Thompson, that the key objective of the vaccine mandate for domestic travel was to encourage Canadians to get vaccinated, as opposed to preventing transmission in a travel environment?
View Taylor Bachrach Profile
NDP (BC)
Can I take from your response that reducing transmission in a travel environment, that is, on an airplane or on a train, was not one of the original objectives of the vaccine mandate for travel?
View Taylor Bachrach Profile
NDP (BC)
I have to say, Ms. Thompson, I'm frustrated at the generality of your responses. I think what Canadians are looking for is a very specific explanation of how these rules work, and that is what we've been failing to get for so many months now. It's incredibly frustrating.
I'm a layperson. I'm not an epidemiologist. I'm not a health professional of any kind. I studied glaciers in university, but I feel like I should be able to understand what we're trying to do with these rules, and the explanation is not making sense. Can you try again to tell us how keeping people off of airplanes and off of trains very specifically protected them or protected the people around them?
I'm failing to see it. I thought I understood the mechanism, which was, if you are unvaccinated and carrying the virus, there is less chance of you transmitting it to people around you. I think that's how most Canadians understood those rules to work. In addition, there is this piece around trying to convince people to get vaccinated. However, the piece around transmission is particularly interesting because of what we've been told about how the virus evolved and the changing impact on transmission.
I'm looking for something here, because I'm not clear on how these rules were supposed to work.
View Taylor Bachrach Profile
NDP (BC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Ms. Thompson, continuing with questions regarding the vaccination mandate for domestic travel, there are two government decisions that are of particular interest. The first was the decision on June 1 to extend the travel mandate, and the second was the decision two weeks later, on June 14, to lift the travel mandate.
Were both of those government decisions consistent with advice from your department?
View Taylor Bachrach Profile
NDP (BC)
Ms. Thompson, did the evidence that your department collects also support the decision on June 1 to extend the mandate?
You spoke of the lifting of the mandate. Did the evidence you were collecting and the science you were reviewing also support extending the mandate on June 1?
View Taylor Bachrach Profile
NDP (BC)
We talked about the lifting already. We're talking about the extension of the mandates now.
I'm just frustrated because I'm asking different questions, but you're giving the same answer to every question. What I want to know is whether the information PHAC was looking at was supportive of extending the travel mandates on June 1.
View Brian Masse Profile
NDP (ON)
View Brian Masse Profile
2022-06-15 17:52
Thank you, Madam Chair.
Apologies and thanks to our witnesses.
I was just mentioning that we had to get our frontline officers vaccinated. They were left off the priority list at the beginning, but it's important that we recognize their safety.
Maybe really quickly to Mr. Vinette, I am concerned that ArriveCAN is going to be made permanent. Has there been discussion about making it a permanent feature for the land border crossings?
View Brian Masse Profile
NDP (ON)
View Brian Masse Profile
2022-06-15 17:53
Okay.
The Privacy Commissioner was consulted for the original ArriveCAN, and when you update it, are you continuing to consult the Privacy Commissioner?
View Brian Masse Profile
NDP (ON)
View Brian Masse Profile
2022-06-15 17:53
Okay.
I just want to make sure, and maybe we can get a follow-up on that just to double-check.
With regard to the Windsor-Detroit crossing, where I am from, the tunnel bus has not operated because.... Actually, I believe it's the only place in the world where we actually have a foreign bus going into the Detroit area—the foreign bus being of course Canadian—to do routes, including, most recently for the Tigers' games and other games and even commuting. It can't operate with ArriveCAN.
Has your department reached out to the City of Windsor, which operates the only bus service we have internationally, to try to support them to be able to use ArriveCAN through their bus system? It's suspended right now because they have to literally police it themselves and the drivers just can't do that.
View Brian Masse Profile
NDP (ON)
View Brian Masse Profile
2022-06-15 17:54
Okay, that would be helpful.
I was over there for the first time last week and there was a two-hour wait. It's not only the congestion that's added. My concern is about the border wait times that have increased now, and right now we're still driving people away because they are afraid of ArriveCAN.
I will go just quickly to Ms. Lévesque.
Has there been a media company as part of the publicity for ArriveCAN, and how much advertising has gone into the States? I'd like to know what we've done to advertise this to the Americans with regard to ArriveCAN.
View Brian Masse Profile
NDP (ON)
View Brian Masse Profile
2022-06-15 17:55
Okay.
It would be interesting, too, to get a comparison. When the western hemisphere travel initiative was brought in, it was devastating to tourism, and we have still not recovered from that. It required a passport to go back and forth to the United States.
I'd be interested to see how robust the American advertising campaign has been and also what's left over to continue that if this is going to continue to be an issue.
Can you at least outline whether or not there has been more than just billboards and how much money has been spent so far on advertising in the U.S.?
View Brian Masse Profile
NDP (ON)
View Brian Masse Profile
2022-06-15 17:56
That's fine. We can get that back for the committee. It would just be interesting to do a comparison.
Last of all, I had a positive response from the Minister of Public Safety yesterday. I have been calling for a safe border task force, a working group that's a management group involving the operators, the tourism industry, logistics teams and others to actively work on being proactive at the border.
Is that something you think the agencies would support?
We used to have that type of an operation before, a number of years ago, but we don't really have it right now. What type of collaboration is taking place, and do you think you'd be open to that collaboration, Mr. Vinette and Ms. Lévesque?
View Brian Masse Profile
NDP (ON)
View Brian Masse Profile
2022-06-15 18:36
Thank you, Madam Chair.
I can assure you that if parliamentarians had to use ArriveCAN every time they had to return to the precinct, they we wouldn't have this app. It would be dropped quicker than anything else.
I think Mr. Weber hit on it, and I'd like to go with him first. It's particularly frustrating that this is really just a resource issue. We're forcing some type of a technology here that's temporary, versus if you actually have a process—and you just gave a good example—where you could use your phone or give a print-off quickly to the officer. They're capable of doing that, are they not?
View Brian Masse Profile
NDP (ON)
View Brian Masse Profile
2022-06-15 18:37
The ironic thing is that when we started during the pandemic—I mentioned it to the previous panel—I had to work with our local CBSA union and Ken Turner down here to actually get them on the list of prioritization for vaccination because the CBSA officers were left off the original list. Now they're doing more work by handling people's personal property.
Is there any other example that you have of officers having to deal with actually taking people's phones or using people's material as they're trying to process themselves at the border?
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