Special to The Lake Report
Nearly one month into 2021, Members of Parliament are returning to Ottawa to focus on needed efforts to eventually overcome the challenges and impact COVID-19 has had on our communities.
This past holiday season was unlike any other in recent memory: businesses closing their doors, workers losing their jobs and families being kept apart, as provinces across the country issued lockdown and stay-at-home orders, in an attempt to manage hospitalizations and protect our heroic health care workers.
As I return to Parliament this week, I can assure you that our Conservative opposition will continue to hold Justin Trudeau's government accountable for their mismanagement of Canada’s federal pandemic response.
Back in March, the federal government was responsible for a nationwide shortage of PPE, while at the same time exporting PPE to China. We were also disappointed to learn the government disbanded this country’s global pandemic alert system, just months before COVID-19 struck us. Then, there was the WE Charity scandal in the summer, which forced the Liberals to prorogue Parliament – in the midst of a global and national health crisis of historic proportion.
Now, 10 months later, as we mark the one-year anniversary of the first presumptive case of COVID-19 in Canada, the government has failed to deliver the vaccines needed to combat and beat this pandemic. In fact, this week, Canada will receive no Pfizer vaccines at all.
With vaccine supplies delayed and running out, rapid testing devices are still not readily accessible to assist our front-line workers or to the general public. And there is no plan in place to support an economic recovery that takes into account our hardest hit sectors, including travel and tourism, notably restaurants, Niagara wineries, attractions, hotels and accommodations, to name a few.
While health care is a provincial responsibility, the provinces can only administer the vaccines that they have in stock. It is the federal government’s job to procure these vaccines and to supply them to the provinces, so they can be given out.
Therefore, the blame for a nationwide vaccine shortage lies squarely on the Trudeau government. As of this writing, less than two per cent of the Canadian population has received at least one dose of vaccine. This is far behind other countries, including our neighbours to the south, and it is completely unacceptable. Canadians deserve far better!
As your MP, proudly representing the communities of Niagara-on-the-Lake, Niagara Falls and Fort Erie, I returned to Ottawa this week to demand better from this government, to demand better from our prime minister and to demand better for you – so we can get our lives back to normal as quickly as possible.
Tony Baldinelli is MP for Niagara Falls riding and the Conservative party's special adviser on tourism recovery.