My questions are for you, Mr. Brosseau. If you don't mind, I would like to begin by sharing excerpts from an email I received from a constituent who works at Vancouver airport. I received this email back on January 29. Due to the fact that this particular constituent was concerned that sharing this information with me could put their job at risk, they asked me to keep them anonymous.
Remember that this is from January 29:
MP Jansen, I'm hoping you can urge the government to have a more serious approach by raising the threat level assessment of coronavirus. I'm a screening officer at YVR. Most of the employees in YVR strongly feel we are not prepared to fight or prevent the spread of the virus. Since Health Canada determines the threat is low, there are no face masks provided to the employees. The official language is, “not recommended but respected”, towards staff's personal choice to wear the mask. We are only told to wash our hands more than 20 seconds but a lot of passengers and some employees don't wash their hands or the soap runs out during peak hours in some of the popular washrooms. Health Canada ensures the public that a healthy person will be safe from the virus by washing their hands and staying at least two metres away from others.
Currently that's impossible. Our searches do not allow officers to keep two metres distance when conducting searches nor do we have space at checkpoints. I know for a fact that a lot of movement flow from YVR staff and inbound and outbound travellers are mixed together in certain areas. While China has gone so far to lock down cities, and other countries like Britain - they've stopped flights to and from Beijing, it worries me and other YVR staff to see that the Canadian government is taking such an optimistic approach for something so contagious and dangerous. We're concerned and even if we want to help ourselves by wearing our own masks, they're sold out and I've even gotten teased on my own choice of using my own mask by upper management.
That email was sent to me on January 29. We brought these concerns to the health committee immediately, and yet there were extreme delays before any of these concerns were properly addressed.
Mr. Brosseau, why was everyone so scared to take extra precautions? What could possibly have been the harm?