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Results: 1 - 15 of 1419
View Matt Jeneroux Profile
CPC (AB)
Thanks, Ron.
This is just to highlight the problems we've had. At the beginning of this committee it took us 13 minutes to get this off the ground, and now another couple of minutes here to get to the questions. I certainly believe we should look at extending it so that we get more than three rounds in.
To begin my questions, because I have limited time, I want to first thank our front-line workers and essential service workers, and everyone who is doing their part to contain COVID-19. As cases continue to mount, I would imagine hospitals are starting to prepare for an influx of cases.
Not to be too critical of the government's work, but there's no doubt that some of the measures were implemented much too late. Canadians are asking whether the government is prepared for the next surge.
I'll provide some examples. On January 29, many members in the House of Commons asked for Canada's borders to be closed in high-risk areas. The government implemented this measure only on March 16. On March 9 members again pushed the government to enact the Quarantine Act and to enforce mandatory quarantine for incoming travellers. It wasn't until March 25 that the government rushed an announcement that mandatory quarantine would be enforced—again, weeks too late. On March 23 our colleagues called on the government to cover 75% of wages following the government's announcement that it would cover only 10%. Then on March 27 the government backtracked and increased the wage subsidy to 75%.
This is all on top of how, on February 4, the government sent 16—
View Matt Jeneroux Profile
CPC (AB)
On top of all this, on February 4, the government sent 16 tonnes of medical supplies to China. This was after medical supplies were selling out here in Canada and after the health officials told Canadians that there would inevitably be more cases in Canada, so there are reasons why Canadians are worried.
View Matt Jeneroux Profile
CPC (AB)
Mr. Chair, Canadians are worried that the government is not prepared to support our front-line workers and sick Canadians when we do reach our peak.
Until two weeks ago, this government was still advising Canadians that risk was low. We're already hearing about hospitals being overwhelmed, supply shortages across the country and, honestly, just a lack of preparedness for a pandemic. Even though the Minister of Health stated that the government has been treating COVID-19 like a pandemic from the beginning—
View Matt Jeneroux Profile
CPC (AB)
Again, Mr. Chair, thanks for the time. There are obviously some hiccups that we're working on here. I certainly hope they make those adjustments at the end of this meeting so we all get our quality time from all members of the committee.
First, I want to again thank our front-line workers, essential service workers and everyone who is doing their part to contain COVID-19. As cases continue to mount, I would imagine hospitals are starting to prepare for an influx of cases. Not to be too critical of the government's work, there is no doubt that some measures were implemented too late and Canadians are asking questions about whether the government is prepared for the next surge. I'll provide some examples.
On January 29, many members of the House of Commons asked for borders to be closed to high-risk areas. The government implemented this measure only on March 16.
On March 9, members again pushed the government to enact the Quarantine Act and enforce mandatory quarantine for incoming travellers. It wasn't until March 5 that the government rushed an announcement that mandatory quarantine would be enforced.
On March 23, our colleagues called on the government to cover 75% of wages following the government's announcement that it—
View Matt Jeneroux Profile
CPC (AB)
Mr. Chair, honestly, this is ridiculous. We're able to have Zoom meetings. We're able to use all this other technology. To not be able to get through some simple questions, there certainly seems to be a lack of preparation for this committee.
Considering we're already an hour into the meeting, I'll jump right to my questions, because I want to make sure that other members also have the opportunity to ask questions.
View Matt Jeneroux Profile
CPC (AB)
I have five questions. In recognizing that we have very little time, I'm hoping that the Public Health Agency and Health Canada can answer these questions. I'll list them.
Does Canada have the medical equipment and the supplies to handle the massive amounts of cases expected across the country?
Do you expect the country to peak all at once or will individual provinces peak at different times?
How many beds are currently available across the country for COVID-19 patients?
Are hospitals across the country converting ICUs into COVID-19 units?
Finally, knowing that the Deputy Prime Minister said this morning that this is going to get worse before it gets better, does the government have a plan for temporary hospitals?
View Len Webber Profile
CPC (AB)
I want to thank all of the witnesses for being here today and for all of the work you're doing to help us get through this pandemic.
I have a few questions for Ms. Namiesniowski from the Public Health Agency of Canada regarding our nation's supply of personal protective equipment. I appreciated her comments in her initial presentation on the details of securing personal protective equipment. Thank you for that.
Of course, we are all hearing concerns about the rationing of personal protective equipment and the warnings of outright shortages in this country. This of course would lead to our frontline workers being unprotected. I understand that just recently, announced today even, the government has committed $2 billion to purchase medical equipment and supplies. That's great news, but it leaves me to wonder why the government would allow 16 tonnes of personal protective equipment to be shipped to China last month, leaving us here in Canada in a very vulnerable situation.
I have just a few questions regarding that shipment. Was it part of a formal contractual agreement? Did China promise to repay that shipment with an equal or larger shipment? If so, when was that repayment negotiated for?
Also, Ms. Namiesniowski, has the federal government either shipped or facilitated the shipment of equipment to other countries, and if so, to whom, when and how much?
View Len Webber Profile
CPC (AB)
Thank you for that.
Were there other shipments of PPE made to other countries around the world, or was it just China?
View Len Webber Profile
CPC (AB)
I will move on to Mr. Lucas. If you have information on any other shipments sent out to other countries, it would be appreciated if you could share that with the committee.
I have a question for Mr. Lucas from the Department of Health. Yesterday I donated blood at the Canadian Blood Services here in Canada, and I was shocked to see that the CBS personnel and health care workers there were not wearing any type of protective masks at all. I posted a picture of that on my Facebook. I asked them why, and they told me that CBS did not deem it a requirement for their workers, and therefore didn't even have a supply of masks on hand. I'm shocked that the Canadian Blood Services does not mandate the use of masks in their blood collection facilities, and I'm wondering why. Is it because we are in such a short supply here currently? Should they not be wearing masks at the CBS?
Also, I've been contacted by flight attendants who live in my riding. They are scared to do their job, and they are scared to lose their job. That is a horrible position to be in, for sure. They see medical staff needing full personal protective equipment to interact with possible COVID-19 cases, especially those who have returned to Canada, and yet they're asked to do their job without personal protective equipment. Why are they not wearing masks? Is it again because we're in short supply? Should they not be wearing masks?
View Len Webber Profile
CPC (AB)
Thank you, Mr. Lucas.
Back to Ms. Namiesniowski—
View Len Webber Profile
CPC (AB)
Okay, thank you.
View Garnett Genuis Profile
CPC (AB)
Thank you, Madam Chair.
Minister, I want to start by sharing with you that a few weeks ago I reached out to your office involving a challenging situation of a family abroad. I worked with Nour Kechacha in your office. She was excellent, she was responsive, and she was very helpful. The family is back in Canada today. We ask tough questions to advance the public interest, but we also, I think, should give credit. I want to thank you and your team on that specific case.
Now for the tougher stuff.
Minister, I appreciated your comments about helping Michael Kovrig, Michael Spavor and Gary Schellenberg. This is a formula we've heard from officials before. It's very important to identify those three individuals.
I want to share with you some testimony we heard at the Canada-China committee about our engagement with complex consular cases in China. This is a quote from Charles Burton, a senior fellow with the Macdonald-Laurier Institute:
...the evidence given by our public servants in the previous meetings of this committee repeated over and over the formula that Canada’s priority in China relations is “the immediate release of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, as well as clemency for Robert Schellenberg”.
I'm sorry; I got his name wrong. It's Robert Schellenberg.
However, in response to questioning, one of the officials indicated there are two Canadians, Mr. Schellenberg and Mr. Fan Wei, whose charges on the death penalty are public and available. Why is this focus on Kovrig, Spavor and Schellenberg, three Canadians of non-Chinese origin, to the exclusion of Canadians Huseyin Celil and Fan Wei, who are not?
I judge that this would be deeply troubling to all Canadians formerly resident in the PRC prior to becoming Canadian citizens and joining our national family.
Do we also thereby tacitly accept the Chinese government's claim that persons of Chinese origin in Canada have an obligation of residual loyalty to the Chinese state regardless of their Canadian citizenship? Is this why the serious problem of Chinese state harassment of persons of PRC origin in Canada, in gross violation of the protections of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, is essentially unaddressed by our government?
Essentially, the issue he's raising is that there doesn't seem to be an equivalent emphasis on Canadians arbitrarily detained in China who are maybe originally of PRC origin. Do you want to comment and respond to his comments?
View Garnett Genuis Profile
CPC (AB)
Thank you, Minister, but I have to jump in there, because after we had the testimony from Ambassador Barton specifically on the Celil case, Mr. Celil's wife spoke publicly in the press and expressed concern about the case not seeming to have received equivalent attention.
I appreciate your comment that a Canadian is a Canadian, but you repeated a formula that identifies three individuals and not other individuals.
View Garnett Genuis Profile
CPC (AB)
Minister, I have a different topic in the time I have left, but again, the formula is out there, and I think people have heard it.
I asked you a question in the House about legal responses to the human rights abuses of Uighurs, and you responded in the House by saying that we're very concerned about the abuse of Uighurs. However, my question was not general; it was specific to legal responses, recognition of crimes against humanity and the use of sanctioning tools against officials involved in the horrific mass detention of Uighurs.
Could you speak specifically, please, to legal responses to this gross violation of human rights?
View Garnett Genuis Profile
CPC (AB)
I could barely say my name in that time.
Minister, I asked you the question; I don't think you answered it. I want to give one more shot. I want to ask about specific legal responses—speaking, sending letters—on Uighur abuses.
There are specific legal steps that you can take, and I think you know what they are. One of them would be listing officials involved in Uighur detentions under the Magnitsky act. Another one would be to support an international investigation around crimes against humanity to officially support the declaration by the U.S. Holocaust museum.
Again, as one more shot here, are you taking, or contemplating taking, a legal response to respond to this gross violation of human rights against Uighurs in China?
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