Hon. Erin O'Toole - 14:27
Mr. Speaker, over the past months, experts have worked with this government to put Canadians in the very best possible position on vaccines.
We now have the best, most diverse portfolio of vaccines anywhere in the world, including agreements with all of the leading vaccine candidates for more doses per capita than just about any other country.
We are continuing to work with experts on a rollout plan. We have faith in our top scientists and doctors as we take a whole-of-government approach to delivering vaccines for Canadians as soon as possible.
Hon. Erin O'Toole - 14:28
Mr. Speaker, from the beginning of this pandemic, we have worked with top scientists and experts to deliver to Canadians the very best help possible, whether it was making sure we had the right PPE, whether we moved forward on the right support for our treatments and medical systems, and as we move forward on vaccines, which I know everyone is eagerly awaiting because that will signal the beginning of the end of this pandemic.
This summer our experts came together and recommended a portfolio of vaccines that have actually put Canada at the very top, in terms of per capita doses, and those very experts are ensuring that we roll out vaccines to all Canadians.
Hon. Erin O'Toole - 14:30
Mr. Speaker, as I said, we are working to ensure that Canadians have vaccines as quickly as possible. Indeed that was part of why we worked with experts to ensure that we have the best possible portfolio of vaccines, including more doses per capita than just about any other country. The Minister of Public Services and Procurement has worked extremely hard and is delivering on that. We also know that there are three of the top vaccine candidates that are currently being examined by Health Canada for approvals. We are doing that as it is done to be safe for Canadians and to make sure we can get vaccines quickly.
Hon. Erin O'Toole - 14:31
Mr. Speaker, right from the start, we have been implementing a plan to protect Canadians. That plan resulted in us having the best portfolio of vaccines of any country in the world, with more doses per capita than any other country.
We have done the work we needed to do to access vaccines, and we are now working with the provinces and our partners to deliver those vaccines to Canadians.
We will continue to work with the experts, and we will have more to say about this in the weeks to come.
Hon. Erin O'Toole - 14:31
Mr. Speaker, as a proud Quebecker, I have always known that the best way to ensure a bilingual Canada is to ensure that Quebec is first and foremost a francophone Quebec. Our government has been working on this for quite some time.
I will not wait for the Conservatives to lecture us on protecting the French language. They refuse to appoint exclusively bilingual judges to the Supreme Court. They have no problem appointing unilingual anglophone judges to the Supreme Court. We have taken a different approach.
We will protect the French language in Quebec and across Canada.
Yves-François Blanchet - 14:33
Mr. Speaker, from day one, we have been working with experts across the country to meet Canadians' expectations.
That is how we ended up securing more doses of vaccine per capita than any other country in the world. That is how we ended up with a solid plan to work with the provinces and territories and our partners to deliver these vaccines as soon as they are available.
We will work with the experts who established these plans, because, on this side of the House, we trust experts and scientists from across the country.
Yves-François Blanchet - 14:34
Mr. Speaker, every expert and scientist in the country is working on COVID-19.
Vaccination experts provided us with recommendations that helped us establish the best portfolio of potential vaccines anywhere in the world. We will continue to work with them and with our partners in Canada.
I made an announcement last summer about investments in Montreal that will ensure that we have vaccine manufacturing capacity. The Conservative government under-invested in science, development and research, but we will continue to invest and to be there to meet Canadians' expectations.
Jagmeet Singh - 14:36
Mr. Speaker, I was indeed very proud to announce an investment in the National Research Council of Canada in August in order to ensure that it is able to produce vaccines in emergency situations. That will be implemented for next summer or fall.
In the meantime, we have been working with partners around the world to ensure that Canada will have access to tens of millions of doses of the vaccine when they become available.
Jagmeet Singh - 14:37
Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased that the member opposite actually read the press release from last summer. He just did not read the whole thing. It is an investment and a commission to build a vaccine-manufacturing facility at the Royalmount National Research Council facility in Montreal, but we are still in construction of that facility.
We have made investments to stand up more biomanufacturing capacity in Canada after 10 long years of a Conservative government that saw most of our vaccine manufacturers cut their production and, indeed, leave Canada. We will continue to invest in science. We will deliver vaccines to Canadians.
Hon. Michelle Rempel Garner - 14:38
Mr. Speaker, around the world, various parliaments and governments are having to explain to their citizens and to their oppositions why Canada has done so much better than them on getting a better portfolio of vaccines and more doses per capita than their countries were able to.
Canada has negotiated, through working with experts and scientists and relying on their recommendations, an excellent portfolio of vaccines with tens of millions of doses for Canadians. Those scientists and researchers are working very quickly to get those vaccines as soon as possible to Canadians.
Hon. Michelle Rempel Garner - 14:39
Mr. Speaker, allow me to reassure anyone who actually might have listened to, or might tend to believe, anything the member just said. We will get those vaccines well in advance of the dates she is offering up, which I will not even repeat.
We have signed and secured vaccine-delivery contracts for 2021 with tens of millions of doses. We know how important it is to deliver them quickly. In signing the contracts, yes, we looked at different ways of ensuring domestic production as much as we were able to, but that, unfortunately, is not something we can move forward on.
Hon. Michelle Rempel Garner - 14:40
Hon. Anthony Rota - 14:41
Mr. Speaker, as I said, Canada has the best portfolio of vaccines purchased in the world, including two domestic vaccine candidates, VIDO-InterVac and Medicago, but the member opposite was asking what happened to domestic manufacturing in Canada. The Conservative government happened to domestic manufacturing.
In 2007, AstraZeneca and Bristol Myers closed their Canadian manufacturing operations. In 2010, Johnson & Johnson and Merck's Montreal research centres closed their facilities. In 2011, Teva closed one of its Canadian manufacturing operations. In 2012, AstraZeneca, GSK and Sanofi announced closings and layoffs.
That is what happened to manufacturing—
Hon. Anthony Rota - 14:41
Richard Martel - 14:42
Mr. Speaker, this government has an excellent Minister of Official Languages who has been working hard for the past several years to protect French across the country and especially in Quebec.
In the latest throne speech, we mentioned how important this is, so I can assure members that we will be moving forward with the long-awaited modernization of the Official Languages Act.
Alain Rayes - 14:43
Mr. Speaker, we will always continue to protect and promote our official languages.
That is why we amended the long-form census to enumerate all rights holders. That is why we supported Ontario's French-language university and developed a historic $1.7-billion plan to support our communities. That is why we have only appointed bilingual judges to the Supreme Court, something that the Conservatives refuse to do. As we said in the throne speech, we are committed to protecting French in both Quebec and the rest of Canada, and we will continue to work on modernizing the Official Languages Act.
Hon. Erin O'Toole - 14:44
Mr. Speaker, I have a hard time taking the Conservative Party seriously when it comes to protecting French.
Will they commit to appointing only Supreme Court justices who can speak French?
That is a commitment that we in the Liberal Party have made. As a Liberal government, we have fulfilled that commitment three times, and we will continue to do so.
Will the Conservative Party commit to only appointing Supreme Court justices who can speak French?
Yves-François Blanchet - 14:45