Gosh darn it, Mr. Speaker, I have had enough of this pandemic. I am completely fed up, I want no truck with it, and I grew up in Fermont, where we like our trucks, so that is saying something.
Like everyone here, in February, I asked some questions of the government, specifically the Prime Minister and the Minister of Public Services and Procurement. When doing so, I told them that I hoped that they would succeed in meeting their vaccine procurement objectives, but I also told them that I was worried about the fact that Canada was so highly dependent on foreign countries.
That has nothing to do with the ability of the Minister of Public Services and Procurement to negotiate. She lives up to her reputation as an organized, determined and hard-working woman. The current results regarding the procurement of vaccines lend support to that reputation, despite the delays.
Today we are debating a motion moved by a woman who is just as organized, just as determined and just as hard-working. That is why this motion surprises me.
I would like to explain my surprise by commenting on each aspect of the motion. Let us keep in mind that the motion is calling on the government to ensure that every Canadian has access to a vaccine by the May long weekend, which is when Quebec celebrates National Patriots Day and the rest of Canada celebrates Victoria Day.
The first paragraph of the motion states that 2.7% of Canadians are fully vaccinated. However, 33.7% of Quebeckers have received their first dose, as have 29.9% of Canadians, which places them 8th and 13th in global rankings, respectively.
When the Conservative Party calls on the government to ensure that every Canadian has access to a vaccine, does it mean access to two doses, given that the percentage referenced is for fully vaccinated Canadians? If so, that would mean the Conservative Party wants almost 74 million doses to arrive and be administered by May 20. That would mean receiving and administering over 3.5 million doses per day.
In Quebec alone, that is almost 775,000 doses to receive and administer each day. Since Canada is not a vaccine producer, I do not see how it would be humanly possible to do that. We have to be realistic.
After doing a few calculations, I was sure I had made a mistake. Maybe the motion is asking for one dose per person by May 20. That involves the receipt and administration of 26 million doses by May 20, or 1.2 million doses received and administered each day across the country. That means more than 271,000 doses received and administered each day in Quebec alone. That is a lot.
I reread the motion, and thought that not every Canadian wants to be vaccinated. Maybe the Conservative Party wants to achieve herd immunity, or about an 80% vaccination rate? I crunched the numbers again: herd immunity at 80% means 20.8 million doses received by May 20, one dose per person, so more than 990,000 doses received and administered each day, and more than 217,000 doses received and administered each day in Quebec alone.
Then I thought that maybe 80% of Canadians do not want to be vaccinated. We cannot force people to get the vaccine. Only those who want it will get it. How can you calculate the desire to be vaccinated? How do you calculate the number of people? It is impossible to calculate the number of doses we need.
In short, how many vaccines will the Conservative Party force the government to receive, and Quebec and the other provinces to administer, each day?
With respect to the second point in the motion, the federal government failed to ensure a sufficient and constant supply in January and February. We all agree on that.
That being said, I would like to point out that past policies and decisions made by both the Liberal and the Conservative parties created a situation in which pharmaceutical companies packed up and left Canada, making us extremely vulnerable not only to what happens in this country, but to our relations with other countries. We are dependent. That is the problem we must work to resolve, both in legislation and on the ground.
For example, India's doses of AstraZeneca are staying in India, which is seeing 200,000 deaths a day. India wants to protect its own people. Is the motion asking, between the lines, that Canada oblige countries to supply us with vaccines despite their own situation, putting the lives of their own people and the health of their own economy at risk to save ours?
Knowing how generous and kind my colleague from Calgary Nose Hill is, I know that that is not the case. Nevertheless, the result is the same: We are dependent on what we can get from other countries. That is what we need to work on. We have the specialists, the knowledge and the workers we need not to be dependent. That is what we must focus on. We must make sure that we never find ourselves so dependent again.
The third point in the motion establishes that the government extended the recommended interval for the second vaccine dose to four months against the recommendations of vaccine manufacturers.
I remember that, in January, the Liberal government said in a press conference that it was irresponsible of Quebec to give as many people as possible their first shot and to give them their second three to four months later.
Only fools never change their minds. Canada has now adopted Quebec's strategy. The United Kingdom also successfully adopted the strategy, authorities in France and Belgium have announced similar measures, and other countries in the European Union are considering following their lead. The aim is to ensure that as many people as possible get at least one shot. The first dose is 75% effective. That slows the spread of the virus.
No one enjoys living under these restrictions. As I said at the beginning of my speech, I am eager for a return to normalcy. A grandmother wrote to tell me that she has not hugged her grandchildren in more than a year. She was angry, and I understand. A friend of mine closed her hair salon and made a career change. She had been considering it, but the repeated closure of non-essential services hastened her decision. My own mother has not seen her grandchildren in months. That being said, what would have happened if we had not imposed any measures at all? We saw what happened in countries around the world. Let us rather focus on the refusal to take swift action, particularly when it came to closing the border.
I would like to return to the first point, that is, the number of vaccines needed. Today's motion does not take into account the ability of Quebec and the provinces to administer the vaccine. It represents an unknown number of vaccines, perhaps as many as 775,000 doses per day in Quebec alone. Do Quebec and the provinces have the necessary infrastructure and personnel? Health care workers are exhausted, and we would be asking them to work 24/7 in addition to hiring new personnel.
The motion's vagueness on the number of doses required and the fact that it does not take into account the capacity to administer the vaccine, both in Quebec and in the Canadian provinces, mean that I cannot support the motion, with all due respect to my colleague from Calgary Nose Hill. Let us focus on ways to ensure that Canada will never again have to depend on other countries to survive future disasters and crises.
Of course, mistakes have been made. There is still room for improvement, even today, but let us look toward the future. Let us make sure these mistakes are never repeated, so we can move forward, restart our economy, hug our loved ones and have a beer on a patio with friends. Vaccination is how we get there.
Demanding an excessive number of vaccines, given the capacity of Quebec and the Canadian provinces to administer the doses, is pointless. This debate is not helpful. Let us get the first round of vaccines into arms quickly. We need to be specific, fair and equitable.