Ottawa, ON – Leona Alleslev, Deputy Leader of Canada’s Conservatives and of the Official Opposition and Shadow Cabinet Minister for Foreign Affairs, Matt Jeneroux, Shadow Cabinet Minister for Health, Kelly Block, Shadow Cabinet Minister for Public Services and Procurement, and James Bezan, Shadow Cabinet Minister for National Defence, issued the following statement:
“In February 2020, the Government of Canada sent Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) including 50,118 face shields, 1,101 masks, 1,820 goggles, 36,425 medical gowns, 200,000 nitrile gloves and 3,000 aprons overseas. At the same time, the World Health Organization was warning countries, including Canada, to prepare for a COVID-19 outbreak.
“Now Canadian doctors and nurses in Canada are facing an urgent shortage of PPE, with some Provinces stating that they will run out of essential supplies within 5 days. These shortages are not limited to PPE but also include ventilators and other critical and complex equipment required to stop the spread of the virus and treat those affected by it.
“Global competition for this much needed medical equipment is at an all time high, with countries around the world doing whatever they can to procure it. Recent media reports have indicated that medical equipment, which had been shipped to Canada, was then redirected to the United States. Furthermore, Conservatives are deeply concerned with President Trump’s direction to companies such as 3M that they are not to supply Canada with critical medical equipment.
“While we support the Government of Canada’s efforts to purchase new equipment, with borders closed, supply chains under strain and countries around the world grappling with their own shortages of medical equipment, we believe more needs to be done to protect Canadians.
“Conservatives are calling on the government to immediately take the following actions to ensure that Canada’s healthcare system has the necessary medical equipment to fight the COVID-19 pandemic:
1. Publish the full list of COVID-19 critical medical equipment and related supplies and add them to the Controlled Goods List governed by the Controlled Goods Program. This will provide much needed clarity to industry.
2. Work with the provinces and territories to contract with suppliers, guarantee order quantities, ensure that the listed items can be manufactured in Canada, and protect supply chains to ensure a continued availability of raw materials and all sub – component elements;
3. Allocate these critical items at a fair price, and appropriately across the country by priority and need; and
4. Formally negotiate a reciprocal agreement with the United States for critical medical items and related supplies to ensure Canada’s requirements are fulfilled on a relative priority basis. Canada must ensure that our contribution to the North American supply chain for these critical items also preserves and protects the health and safety of Canadians.
“Conservatives will continue to use our strengthened Opposition to ensure that healthcare workers have the critical supplies they need to keep themselves and all Canadians healthy and safe.”