Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will have some explaining to do when he holds his weekly conference with Canada’s premiers today. He threw the House of Commons into a tizzy yesterday when, apparently seeking to to temper Canadians’ expectations around the timing and rollout vaccines to immunize he said, Canada was at a disadvantage” because Canada “no longer has any domestic production capability” to make our own and is relying on other nations. Premier Doug Ford told reporters he was concerned about this news saying, “I will ask the Prime Minister what kind of vaccine are we getting, how much and when?”
Today the government appeared to be trying to do some damage control insisting that January 2021 will be the start date for when people in Canada will begin to receive COVID-19 vaccines, despite frustration and concerns levelled at the Liberals by the opposition on Wednesday about Canada’s position in the queue to receive doses.
“At the beginning of next year, in January of 2021, assuming those approvals are given… Canadians will be able to start being vaccinated,” Queen’s Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs Dominic LeBlanc said in an interview on CTV’s Power Play.
Doug Ford also took issue with Trudeau’s comment that there was no manufacturing capability left in Canada. “I was told otherwise, he said.” Ford said that in addition to the health emergency Canada would face having to stand in line behind other nations for vaccine there was the issue of our economy. “Other nations will be getting back to normal while we are twiddling our thumbs waiting for vaccine,” he said.
“Why did this prime minister sign deals that placed Canadians months behind Americans for getting a COVID-19 vaccine?” asked Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole.
“The announcement of vaccines gave people hope, but when the prime minister said we’re not able to produce it in Canada people were afraid… They need to know that there’s a clear plan with dates,” said NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh during question period.
There is still a lack of clarity on the timetable for delivery of vaccine to Canada. On Friday the Public Health Agency of Canada told MPs that the country is on track to receive an initial six million doses by March, four million from Pfizer and two million from Moderna.