Evidence of meeting #2 for COVID-19 Pandemic in the 43rd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was chair.

A video is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

12:40 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Anthony Rota

The Honourable Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food has the floor.

12:40 p.m.

Compton—Stanstead Québec

Liberal

Marie-Claude Bibeau LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

The decision to delay or close the fishery is made with the support of both the harvesters and the processors. After considering a variety of factors, including conservation and protection of stock as well as the health and safety of harvesters, our government is in constant communication with provincial and industrial partners to discuss these issues.

12:40 p.m.

Conservative

John Williamson Conservative New Brunswick Southwest, NB

Mr. Chair, to go back to the Deputy Prime Minister, would the government prefer to see its one China policy under a democratic China or is it content to see a one China policy under the totalitarian regime?

12:40 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Anthony Rota

The honourable Deputy Prime Minister, in 15 seconds or less, please.

12:40 p.m.

Liberal

Chrystia Freeland Liberal University—Rosedale, ON

Well, since it's just 15 seconds or less, Mr. Chair, I think everyone in this House believes in democracy, and that is something we are working on and demonstrating in our debates today.

12:45 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Anthony Rota

Mr. McCauley.

April 29th, 2020 / 12:45 p.m.

Conservative

Kelly McCauley Conservative Edmonton West, AB

Mr. Chair, on February 26, 2020, over a month after Canada's first COVID-19 case, the Minister of Health tabled the Public Health Agency's departmental results report in the House. The report stated that we optimized the national emergency strategic stockpile. In the 2019-20 departmental plan, which covers up to March 31 of this year, the plan said to enhance the national emergency strategic stockpile, yet the Minister of Health on April 1 said that the stockpile was not sufficient. Why?

12:45 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Anthony Rota

The honourable minister.

12:45 p.m.

Liberal

Patty Hajdu Liberal Thunder Bay—Superior North, ON

Mr. Chair, as we've talked about numerous times in this House, anticipating a global pandemic of this size was just a very difficult thing to do. As we saw the demand increase across Canada, of course we realized that the pandemic stockpile, which had been assembled over a number of years, was simply not going to be sufficient to meet the needs of health care workers across Canada. Provinces and territories were also struggling and, of course, we worked very closely with our counterparts to make sure that we could procure devices for health care workers across the country.

12:45 p.m.

Conservative

Kelly McCauley Conservative Edmonton West, AB

Mr. Chair, I will note that the report tabled in this very House this very year stated that they had optimized the stockpile, and yet they did not. The report which covered up to March 31 stated as well that they were to enhance it.

Is there a formula to determine how much equipment needs to be in the emergency stockpile?

12:45 p.m.

Liberal

Patty Hajdu Liberal Thunder Bay—Superior North, ON

Mr. Chair, in fact, a national emergency stockpile was never meant to stockpile enough protective equipment for a pandemic of this size. In fact, it's there to provide backup to provinces that may be having a provincial outbreak or a regional local outbreak in which they need support to augment the stockpile that they have at the provincial and territorial level. Having said that, of course we're reviewing now the national emergency stockpile's role in terms of protections for Canadians as we move forward.

12:45 p.m.

Conservative

Kelly McCauley Conservative Edmonton West, AB

Mr. Chair, in the government's own report, they said that they had optimized the amount in the stockpile. How do they determine what is optimized?

12:45 p.m.

Liberal

Patty Hajdu Liberal Thunder Bay—Superior North, ON

Mr. Chair, the national emergency stockpile doesn't just hold personal protective equipment. In fact, it's not the majority of—

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

12:45 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Anthony Rota

Mr. McCauley.

12:45 p.m.

Conservative

Kelly McCauley Conservative Edmonton West, AB

Mr. Chair, in the government operations committee last week, the public works minister justified choosing Amazon to distribute PPE in Canada instead of Canada Post by saying that Amazon was not a foreign company and was in fact a Canadian company.

Would the minister advise the House of when Jeff Bezos took out Canadian citizenship?

12:45 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Anthony Rota

The honourable minister.

12:45 p.m.

Liberal

Anita Anand Liberal Oakville, ON

Mr. Chair, the intentions of my comments last week at committee were as follows. Amazon entered into an agreement with Canada. There's a Canadian operation of that company that is working with Purolator as well as Canada Post to ensure effective and efficient distribution to front-line health care workers, which is the priority of this government.

12:45 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Anthony Rota

We have a point of order from Mr. McCauley.

12:45 p.m.

Conservative

Kelly McCauley Conservative Edmonton West, AB

Mr. Chair, I believe the time for the response should be equivalent to the length of the question. Thank you.

12:45 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Anthony Rota

Yes, we are working on it, and we'll try to get that a little bit in line.

12:45 p.m.

Conservative

Kelly McCauley Conservative Edmonton West, AB

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

In the very same committee, the public works deputy minister would state only that he expected that the contaminated and substandard PPE would be replaced at no charge to Canadian taxpayers. Will these contaminated and non-compliant masks be replaced 100% without one penny of added cost to Canadians?

12:45 p.m.

Liberal

Anita Anand Liberal Oakville, ON

Mr. Chair, the corporation has assured us that they will not be charging us for the masks that were defective.

12:45 p.m.

Conservative

Kelly McCauley Conservative Edmonton West, AB

Mr. Chair, a spokesperson for PSPC then went on to state that the substandard N95 masks would not actually be replaced free of charge if we used them for other non-medical purposes.

Why would we pay suppliers in China full price for shoddy PPE and then use those items for non-medical purposes?

12:45 p.m.

Liberal

Anita Anand Liberal Oakville, ON

Mr. Chair, there is still testing going on to see if those masks can be repurposed for non-medical purposes. This is a question that I will have to report back to the House on when that assessment is complete.

12:45 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Anthony Rota

Mr. McCauley, you have 15 seconds for a question and 15 seconds for an answer.