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Results: 1 - 15 of 1316
View Brian Masse Profile
NDP (ON)
View Brian Masse Profile
2020-05-29 15:52
Thank you, Madam Chair, and again, thank you to the witnesses. My question will be for both witnesses.
I represent Windsor, Ontario, and it's right across from Detroit, Michigan, where there's a significant outbreak—amongst the highest in the world, really. In regular times, when we have international movement.... I'll use the river that separates us as an example, and the fish. You can tell the fish they're supposed to be on the American side or the Canadian side, but they don't listen; they'll go back and forth.
What I see happening with some of the discussions taking place with contact and data tracing is that we have a global pandemic, yet we have many pockets of contact tracing going on, with an attempt to protect personal privacy, as well as ensure confidence in the management of the system and so forth.
I'm just wondering if you have any comments about the value of it, given the fact that it is a global pandemic. We have people in our own country, now as it is, with multiple platforms on their cell and mobile information-sharing devices; and then potentially we have other factors of foreign visitation, even during the worst of times, that are still happening.
We also have essential workers travelling back and forth. Normally, in Windsor here there are 10,000 trucks a day and 30,000 vehicles. It's down significantly, but it's still in the thousands of vehicles.
I'm just curious as to the data that we'll get from this and given the fact that it seems to be compartmentalized amongst different countries.
Maybe, Mr. Bryant, you could go first.
Michael Bryant
View Michael Bryant Profile
Hon. Michael Bryant
2020-05-29 15:54
Thank you.
I confess that I'm not sure I understood your question, but I'm going to take my best shot at addressing it.
I would agree, if I understand you correctly, that there are just so many different ways in which the virus is being fed, many of which we don't even know, and some of which, yes, continue to arise from people from other jurisdictions, and much of it, as you mentioned, being found in larger urban centres. For example, in Ontario it's more so that Windsor, Toronto, London and Ottawa continue to have a pandemic crisis, and in much of the rest of the province, there's really not so much.
In that sense, the context in which contact tracing, for example, would be useful and helpful may be quite limited in urban centres—extremely limited—and at this stage possibly useless. That's not to say that down the line it would not be useful in those regions where there's a very small population, and that's a way in which to keep the virus from spreading at all.
The way in which this virus is going to be reduced by way of contact-tracing apps in urban centres.... There may be a correlation, but I don't know if we'll be able to say, oh, this caused that. On the other hand, in smaller populations it may be otherwise.
I'm going to let the professor take it from here.
Teresa Scassa
View Teresa Scassa Profile
Teresa Scassa
2020-05-29 15:56
Thank you.
I was just reading about how Northern Ireland, which is part of the U.K., has declined to implement the U.K. contact-tracing app in favour of adopting a solution that's compatible with the Republic of Ireland, with which they share an island, because that's their choice. They're thinking in terms of where their people are travelling and where their people are moving.
I think we started off small for a while. Ottawa Public Health was talking about adopting a contact-tracing app at a time when nobody was leaving Ottawa, we were all staying home, and that's where we needed an app. But now we're going to start opening things up and we need an Ontario app.
When Alberta adopted its app, the push-back, which I think you are feeling right now as parliamentarians, was that we needed a national solution, because as soon as we start opening things up people are going to be travelling across the country. If you don't have something that works across borders, then it's not going to be particularly useful, especially, of course, here in Ottawa where we share a border with Quebec and people travel back and forth all the time.
I think as our circumstances change so does the vision of what we have to deal with, which has an impact on what technology we adopt. This is all moving so quickly that I think it's been hard to adapt and respond to it. Again, I'm going to make a plug for thinking about the next thing, which is workplace employment contact tracing. I think this is the big wave that's coming and I think it's going to be a really important one.
View Gary Vidal Profile
CPC (SK)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I also want to congratulate the groups here today for their information and for the leadership they represent.
Ms. Meawasige, you talked early on in your presentation about the proactive leadership of the first nations that you work with in Manitoba. There was a newspaper article this morning that talked about the importance of observing strict quarantines and preventing any traffic between the villages of the north and the south, about travel restrictions and about how that has been a success in Nunavik.
This was in this particular article, but I'm curious about the Manitoba context. When you talk about zero cases as well, how do you balance that challenge between restricting non-essential travel and the need for people to access essential services outside their communities? We realize that remote and northern communities don't have access to so many things. What did you find out in your experience in northern Manitoba about that kind of balancing act of trying to restrict travel while still having access to the necessary services?
Amanda Meawasige
View Amanda Meawasige Profile
Amanda Meawasige
2020-05-26 18:18
Again, it goes back to communication and common sense, really.
A prime example is ensuring that when essential service providers come in, they're screened, and they fly in separately on their own chartered flight so that there's no risk of contamination through commercial airlines. It's assurances such as these that allow us to safely receive essential service providers.
View Gary Vidal Profile
CPC (SK)
I have a quick follow-up. What was the response within your own communities to the restrictions on people's ability to leave? Did you find them very frustrated, or were they accepting the restrictions and acknowledging the need for them in order to protect them from the virus?
Amanda Meawasige
View Amanda Meawasige Profile
Amanda Meawasige
2020-05-26 18:19
There was a lot of frustration, particularly around the compliance of young people, but I think that's across the board for the general population. However, as I mentioned, our communities have a lot of unfortunate historical experience with pandemics and disease. We also don't have primary health care available at the community level, and community members are aware of that. Therefore, they're aware of the need to keep our protections high.
View Arnold Viersen Profile
CPC (AB)
Thank you.
Ms. Meawasige, continuing on in Manitoba, you were talking about the interplay between the provincial and federal health services that are laid out there. I'm just wondering a little about individual communities.
I represent 14 Cree communities in northern Alberta. Many of them have blockades at the end of the road going into them, with people monitoring who's coming and who's going. Is it a similar case in northern Manitoba, and how well has that worked in northern Manitoba?
Amanda Meawasige
View Amanda Meawasige Profile
Amanda Meawasige
2020-05-26 18:48
I think it's working quite well. In fact, Manitoba first nations erected their blockades long before there was a provincial public health directive. I think that was key in stopping the spread of COVID in our communities and keeping it out. It's been a strict lockdown process with coordination amongst air carriers, people coming in and essential service providers, with assurances that people are screened before coming in and that they're deemed safe.
View Marcus Powlowski Profile
Lib. (ON)
Davis Inlet is a fly-in community. I am familiar with NAN communities because I'm in Thunder Bay, and there are a lot of NAN people in Thunder Bay, so I've been in touch with Chief Fiddler as to what they're doing with their communities. One thing they did early on was really to try to, as much as possible, stop all non-essential travel back and forth to the communities.
Is that the same thing that they've done in your communities?
Ghislain Picard
View Ghislain Picard Profile
Ghislain Picard
2020-05-22 14:30
The approach taken by the Labrador Innu nation was to cease all operations at the Goose Bay Airport to prevent cases from entering the Innu community. At the same time, on the Quebec side, some 30 isolated communities accessible only by air or boat, if not more, established checkpoints to prevent people from coming and going into the communities.
View Arnold Viersen Profile
CPC (AB)
Thank you.
Chief Picard, I'm sure it's similar in your neck of the woods. Where I'm from, most of the first nations communities have blockaded the roads in and out. That seems to have worked. However, there are some concerns with inconsistencies in terms of who may travel in and who may travel out.
Have you heard anything on that? How have your communities managed maintaining the blockades on the roads so that only those who should be coming in and going out have been coming in and going out?
Ghislain Picard
View Ghislain Picard Profile
Ghislain Picard
2020-05-22 14:51
Excuse me, Mr. Chair.
In a way, we are guided in part by public health authorities in Quebec. As for the chiefs, they have been extremely proactive and they have come up with their own directives.
At the height of the crisis two weeks ago, at least 30 communities out of 43 really controlled access to the community, if not completely closed off access to the community. That is what's working, that is what's preventing the spread of the virus. In fact, anyone who has followed the news knows that the community of Kanesatake, located about 40 minutes from Montreal, has taken the same action in Oka Provincial Park and that the objectives in relation to vulnerable populations were the same.
View Pierre Paul-Hus Profile
CPC (QC)
When you undertook the study on the trip the Prime Minister took to India, it was likely because a matter of national security would normally be involved. Is that correct?
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