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Results: 1 - 15 of 127
View Jennifer O'Connell Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition is playing a very dangerous game. As the Prime Minister has stated, we have provided the requested documents to the Canada-China committee with protections in place for privacy and national security. We then went further and provided unredacted documents to the only committee that has members with security clearance as well as the right safety protocols.
I suggest the member opposite go back to his conspiracy theory drawing board.
View Jennifer O'Connell Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, only the Leader of the Opposition considers the fact that our government has provided all of the documents unredacted in a secure manner to be somehow a cover-up. Either the member opposite does not understand national security or he simply does not care.
We have provided those documents. We have faith in the hard-working members of NSICOP and the secretariat that supports them to do this work and to provide that transparency while maintaining the safety and security of our national security systems in Canada.
View Jennifer O'Connell Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, if the Leader of the Opposition cares about national security, he has a pretty funny way of showing it. We have provided all of the documents unredacted to NSICOP. Because the member opposite references his service, let me point out a quote from a professor from the Royal Military College of Canada in reference to the work of NSICOP. He said, “I think it demonstrates the value of having an independent review of organizations by parliamentarians of the changes that the government has put in place.”
I think the NSICOP report is very important for everyone to read. NSICOP is respected—
View Jennifer O'Connell Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, once again, only the Leader of the Opposition thinks that the government providing all of the documentation unredacted, as well as the documentation in a secure form to two separate committees, is somehow a cover-up.
The Conservative leader is playing a dangerous game with national security matters for his own political stunts. We will not engage in that. We have faith in the hard-working members of NSICOP. I know just how hard they work. I was a member and I also understand the security measures that go in place to ensure that members have the right security clearance and that documents are held in a—
View Jennifer O'Connell Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, what Canadians deserve is a Leader of the Opposition who does not put the national security of Canadians at risk for a political stunt based on his own innuendo and conspiracy theories.
We have provided all of the documents, and I do not know how many times the government has to say that, in a manner that is safe and secure, unredacted, to those members. I do not know why the Leader of the Opposition does not have confidence in his own members on the NSICOP committee to review this material.
View Jennifer O'Connell Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, of course we care. Our entire government has been working throughout this pandemic to care for Canadians, to keep them safe throughout a global pandemic, which many of us have never seen before. All of the measures that we have put in place have been done with the advice from scientists, experts and doctors, with the purpose of stopping the spread of COVID-19 and saving lives.
We made an important announcement yesterday in regard to lifting restrictions. We need Canadians to keep doing that hard work, keep getting vaccinated, and we will see life return to normal—
View Jennifer O'Connell Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, nothing could be further from the truth. One of the first commitments we made in our mandate was for additional support for provinces and territories, specifically around mental health supports. This is something we have been committed to not just throughout the pandemic, but every single day of our mandate we have been working to help support the mental health needs of Canadians. It is something that can be seen again in budget 2021.
We will continue to work in terms of creating a three-digit mental health support line, but in the meantime we will not take lessons from the Conservatives, because we have been there every step of the way—
View Jennifer O'Connell Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, we know that any life lost to suicide is one life too many. This is precisely why we did not just act in the last 188 days. We have acted over the last five years to bring the mental health supports and the investment that provinces and territories have asked for. We provided throughout the pandemic the funding needed to create wellnesstogether.ca. Over a million Canadians have accessed mental health supports that the member opposite flippantly misses, but this is real help, helping real Canadians access the help they need.
We are going to continue to invest in more ways. We will not—
View Jennifer O'Connell Profile
Lib. (ON)
Madam Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to speak about these important issues. When it comes to the member's first comments around doctors in this country, that is an area that we have absolutely been working with our provincial counterparts on, whether in things such as virtual care or, as the member mentioned, the ability for practitioners to move. As he stated, this is provincial jurisdiction; however, we are constantly talking to provincial and territorial counterparts about ways that we can improve health care for Canadians across the country and that is something we are going to continue to do.
In terms of government-authorized quarantine facilities, the member said the measures do not work. That is simply not the case. The measures that have been put in place at the border have been taken because they add layers of protection for Canadians travelling. This is a measure that has been important not only to track, trace and stop the spread of COVID-19, but it is also in place to ensure that we are watching for variants of concern.
I find it incredibly difficult to take the Conservative member seriously when on social media we see the Leader of the Opposition screaming for stronger border measures, then in the House when they think Canadians are not watching, the Conservatives say, “Scrap all these measures and just open up the borders.” The Conservatives need to get consistent with the message when it comes to protecting Canadians. From our side, we have put in place measures that are led by science and evidence to keep Canadians safe. These measures are important, and again are done completely with the objectives of stopping the spread of COVID-19 and saving lives.
The member also stated incorrectly that the quarantining is not even enforced in two of the four jurisdictions. That is simply not the case. In Quebec it is being enforced through the judicial process, and Alberta has the ability to enforce these measures. The local jurisdiction has not yet enacted the Quarantine Act or the regulations to do this enforcement. However, we are still able to enforce these measures.
It is important that all local public health measures are enforced because they are done with the goal of protecting Canadians and stopping the spread of the virus. We are all very much looking forward to a life after COVID, and the fastest way we are going to get there is if Canadians continue to step up. Over 30 million vaccine doses have been delivered, and by Canadians stepping up and getting vaccinated we are going to see our way out of this pandemic.
In the meantime, these measures are incredibly important. Again, we are constantly watching so that we are able to track and trace and stop the spread of COVID and the variants of concern. Our objective to keep Canadians safe will not stop.
View Jennifer O'Connell Profile
Lib. (ON)
Madam Speaker, off the top, I do not know why the member opposite would find it to be a point of pride to not enforce quarantine measures. Local quarantine measures are in place for the purpose of actually protecting communities, so I find it odd that he finds it to be a point of pride to not enforce local public health measures. That is between him and his constituents.
When it comes to optometrists, absolutely we have heard from stakeholders. We are listening and taking those comments very seriously. Again, as I mentioned, we are going to continue to work with our provincial and territorial counterparts and ensure that Canadians have access to the health care they need.
View Jennifer O'Connell Profile
Lib. (ON)
Madam Speaker, on the contrary, since the beginning of our mandate we have made investments in mental health supports as we know this has been a critical area of investment prior to COVID, throughout COVID and post-COVID.
When it comes to the three-digit hotline, I am happy to say that the CRTC has announced a consultation period. I implore everyone to provide that feedback.
We also have invested in resources now, like Wellness Together Canada, that provide immediate services to over a million Canadians and we will continue to invest in this critical area.
View Jennifer O'Connell Profile
Lib. (ON)
Madam Speaker, when it comes to our border measures, Canada has some of the strictest border measures in the world and we have done so precisely to add layers of protection. Each of these layers of protection are in place to track, trace and stop the spread of COVID-19.
While the Conservatives one day say they want stricter border measures, they next day they say they do not. The only thing consistent with the Conservatives when it comes to public health measures is their inconsistency. We will not take lessons from them. We will listen to science and experts to make sure we keep—
View Jennifer O'Connell Profile
Lib. (ON)
Madam Speaker, once again, leave it to Conservatives to have an Ottawa-knows-best approach. We do not think so. We actually agree with working with provinces and territories on public health measures, including working with them when it comes to lifting restrictions. As I said before, the border measures are in place specifically as layers of protection to track, trace and stop the spread of COVID-19, which will save lives.
Again, the Conservatives are inconsistent on their border measures. I do not know which day of the week they are going to change their mind—
View Jennifer O'Connell Profile
Lib. (ON)
Madam Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House today to address the motion of the hon. member for Wellington—Halton Hills.
As summer approaches, we are seeing a strong and steady decline in COVID-19 cases across Canada. Strict public health measures and ramped-up vaccination campaigns have pushed the national case count to its lowest level in weeks. In much of the country, the pandemic outlook is improving. COVID-19 infection rates have peaked in most areas of the country, followed by the slower decline in hospitalization rates.
As members know, there are exceptions. In places where infection rates are still very high, such as in Manitoba, hospitalization rates have not yet begun to decline. That is because the average length of stay for people hospitalized with COVID-19 is two weeks. For those experiencing more severe illness, it is closer to three weeks. The number of hospitalized patients accumulates over time while infection rates remain high, but, as I said, the situation is improving in most areas of the country.
With the steady decline of infection rates and strong and steady increases in vaccination rollout and uptake, we are on track for a better outdoor summer and a safer fall. That is great news for everyone, but we have to continue this momentum. The more people who get fully vaccinated, the safer it will be to ease restrictions and individual precautions. Only then can we get back to more interactions and activities, including spending more time together indoors.
As immunity builds up across the population, keeping infection rates down is crucial. It is still important that Canadians continue to follow local public health advice, including when and where to maintain essential precautions, such as masking and spacing. Now is not the time to relax our measures. Doing so would increase the number of community-wide in-person contacts that would likely result in a resurgence of the virus.
The experiences of other countries show the need to maintain strong public health measures as vaccines roll out. Easing measures must be done in a controlled and gradual way as COVID-19 infection rates decline.
In the U.K., more than 70% of adults aged 18 or over have had at least one dose and over 45% are fully immunized. It is important to note that measures have been relaxed slowly and cautiously in that country. It is also worth remembering that the U.K. sustained the most restrictive measures until incidence rates were several times lower than they currently are in Canada.
While countries with high vaccination rates are making great strides, some of them experienced resurgences along the way. Even the U.K. is still experiencing pockets of increased disease activity fuelled by variants of concern in areas with low vaccination coverage. In Canada, gradual and cautious lifting of restrictive measures can happen safely once infection rates are low. We will need to maintain vigilance everywhere, while vaccines continue to build up immunity across the Canadian population.
Several conditions must be met before we consider easing restrictive public health measures. These are controlled transmission; sufficient testing and contact tracing capacity; a low number of cases, allowing for testing and tracing to cope with outbreaks and surges; and high vaccine coverage in at-risk populations and settings, such as congregate living for seniors.
With a plan in place, public health measures could be eased in very low-risk settings. However, if modelling-based forecasts suggest a resurgence, an increase in COVID-19 positive cases or a declining adherence to public health measures, then public health measures should be reinstated. Public health measures should also be reinstated if the spread of variants of concern becomes increasingly prevalent.
So far, Health Canada has authorized four different COVID-19 vaccines: Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Janssen. Health Canada has also authorized the use of the Pfizer vaccine in children 12 to 15 years of age. Each of these vaccines have been shown to be very effective at preventing hospitalizations and death. We are making excellent progress in distributing these vaccines to the provinces and territories, with deliveries increasing every week.
More than 22 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in Canada since vaccination began in mid-December, providing 62% of eligible adults with at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine.
Indigenous communities and the territories have made excellent strides—
View Jennifer O'Connell Profile
Lib. (ON)
Madam Speaker, it is surprising that in the middle of a health pandemic, members opposite are not invested in vaccinations and the state of where we are as a country. That is very concerning.
Part of the groundwork I am laying is connected to the important work of the microbiology lab, so I absolutely will continue. However, this is important information for all Canadians.
Indigenous communities and the territories have made excellent strides in increasing vaccination coverage. To date, more than three-quarters of adults in the three territories have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine and 66% have received two doses.
A first dose of COVID-19 vaccine provides us with primary protection, but for maximum protection, we need a second immunity-boosting dose.
The Government of Canada expects that by the end of the next two quarters, Canada will have received in Q2, end of June, more than 40 million cumulative doses and by Q3, end of September, more than 100 million cumulative doses. Looking ahead, we expect weekly shipments of 2.4 million Pfizer doses per week in June and close to 2.3 million doses weekly in July. Regarding Moderna, we are actively working with our colleagues at Public Service and Procurement Canada and the manufacturers to determine the delivery schedule and shipment sizes for June.
Last month, my hon. colleague, the Minister of Public Services and Procurement, announced that Canada had secured COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer for 2022 and 2023, with options—
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