The NDP of Canada says now is the time for Canadians to learn more about the federal government’s handling of the COVID-19 outbreak through a public inquiry into Canada’s response to the pandemic.
With final federal public health restrictions lifted in September, NDP health critic Don Davis said it was time for the government to review whether it had acted appropriately to deal with the crisis.
“It’s time for a proper, full, comprehensive review of federal preparedness and response. And the only way to do that is to have an official investigation,” he said in an interview.
At the start of the pandemic, Davis said, it was clear Canada was not equipped to handle the stress caused by COVID-19. He said a public inquiry could answer questions on everything from early detection of the virus to shortages of personal protective equipment and domestic vaccine production capacity.
“It’s about holding those who make the decisions accountable, learning from this unprecedented experience and being better prepared for the future,” he said.
In late January 2020, the first case of COVID-19 was detected in Canada, and two months later in March, the World Health Organization declared a global pandemic.
Since then, public health restrictions have risen and fallen with the waves of the pandemic, including mandatory vaccine requirements for civil servants, workers in federally regulated industries and travelers, border closures and mandatory COVID-19 testing for travelers .
The government is also offering financial support to people unable to work or lose their jobs during the pandemic, and to businesses that have suffered financial losses from being told to stay home to prevent the spread of infection.
The NDP wants to see a scrutiny that is broad, open and at a distance from the government.
At a news conference on Monday, Davis said everyone who played a role in the decision should be heard.
“No Canadian is immune from responsibility to the Canadian public,” he said.
NDP and Conservative MPs asked the country’s chief public health officer at a recent meeting of the House of Commons health committee whether it was possible to review the government’s handling of the pandemic.
Dr Theresa Tam told them the decision was not up to her, but said it was important to learn from the biggest pandemic of our time.
“It’s very important to take note of the lessons learned and be as objective as possible,” Tam told the health board on October 18.
“Given that the pandemic will recur, input from various experts on what is going well and what can be improved is important in preparing us for future responses.”
Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos also spoke about the importance of the review, but did not say when it would take place or whether it would be independent of the government. His office did not immediately respond to the NDP’s proposal on Monday.
Former Reform Party leader Preston Manning announced a plan on Nov. 4 in which he will conduct a survey of provinces, provinces, and cities on behalf of a nonprofit called Citizen’s Inquiry Canada. Federal and municipal governments conduct what he calls a “national citizen survey” on their pandemic responses.
The organization was formed to accept and disburse donations to fund investigations.
“The scale of these interventions calls for a full, transparent, and objective investigation into the appropriateness and effectiveness of the measures taken,” Manning said in the release.
Manning said the investigation will begin next year with public hearings in cities across the country.
Davies slammed the proposal, saying in a written statement that the Conservatives “want to play the political game with the partisan pandemic team led by Preston Manning” and accused the Liberals of trying to create “an internal scrutiny” The illusion of oversight and accountability”.
Laura Osman and Nojoud Al Mallees, Canadian Press
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