This week I partook in the emergency debate on the vaccine shortage.
In the past week, we’ve learned that Pfizer has dramatically reduced vaccine shipments, to the point that we won’t receive a single dose this week.
We also learned they are having problems at their manufacturing facility, but we still don’t know how many doses will be delivered in the coming weeks.
And now the German government has formally requested the EU block all exports of COVID vaccines produced within the EU.
Now more than ever, we need to know what can be done if the EU blocks those shipments.
If we are going to continue to see logistical challenges with getting vaccines into Canada, it would be prudent to know if any of the contracts would allow us to domestically manufacture a vaccine.
And while the Prime Minister was saber-rattling with the Premiers, to his credit, he recognized his comments were not helpful and said so during a recent meeting with the provinces.
Now that the Premiers' concerns have proven to be correct, the issue of procuring vaccines falls squarely with the federal government.
For months now, we’ve been asking for more details about the contracts the Liberals signed with the pharmaceutical companies.
While I understand some of the sensitivities around pricing, what I don’t understand is the level of secrecy.
Now part of that secrecy could stem from the Liberals not wanting certain details from leaking out.
For example, iPolitics is reporting that after the Liberals signed a deal with CanSino Biologics, the Chinese government blocked shipments for clinical trials.
While we still don’t know a lot of the details about this arrangement with CanSino, we do know it took the Liberals an additional 3 months to sign another contract with a different pharmaceutical company.
In those 3 months, countries around the world were signing vaccine contracts, while the Liberals did not.
It wasn’t until the Liberals signed those other deals, that the Prime Minister finally admitted the CanSino vaccine was going nowhere.
In the coming days, I fully expect the Liberals to be transparent with Parliament and with Canadians.
When did they know the CanSino deal was off the table?
And why did they wait 3 months before signing any other contract?
These are questions that deserve answers.
As the Leader of the Official Opposition has said, we want to work together on getting a strategy that will result in Canadians getting vaccinated.
For that to happen, it’s up to the government to invite us to the table.
It is my sincere hope the governments pick up the phone, call the opposition parties and invite them to the table.
Let’s get to work.
You can watch my speech here: https://www.facebook.com/164172890442630/videos/5139271742814202