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Response from my MP about slow roll-out of COVID-19 vaccine in Canada

So two weeks after I wrote to my MP and MLA about the glacial roll-out and extraordinarily pathetic vaccination goal of the Canadian government, I heard back from my MP, Kenny Chiu. He is in Opposition, so really, his reply was just an agreement with my position. His assistant included a statement from Conservative MP Michelle Rempel Garner; except for the hyperbole about “overflowing morgues” and “lies”, it may be the only time she and I will ever be in agreement!

We’re still in a state of stasis in Canada, with vaccine delivery numbers abysmally low. Again, don’t get me wrong; I don’t think we all will or should be vaccinated by next week. But gimme a break, the goal of vaccinating all of us by a month after the summer ends, while the variants gather steam and India vaccinates eight Canadas, is just crazy talk. Unbelievably, Trudeau keeps harping on about that goal, as if it’s the best goal in the world! I keep coming back to the crux of the matter: What could possibly be more important, right now, today?!

No reply yet from my MLA, Kelly Greene (or, of course, Trudeau or Horgan), and at this late stage I’m not holding out much hope for one.


From: “Chiu, Kenny – M.P.” <Kenny.Chiu_AT_parl.gc.ca>
To: Craig Hartnett
Subject: RE: Reasoning for slow roll-out of COVID-19 vaccine in Canada
Date: Thu, 28 Jan 2021 19:58:33 +0000

Good afternoon, Mr. Hartnett,

Thank you for writing the office of Kenny Chiu, member of Parliament for Steveston-Richmond East.

As Canada did not receive any of the Pfizer vaccine this week, it has lead to significant delays and stoppages in Canada’s vaccine distribution.

A recent statement from vaccine manufacturer Pfizer indicated that some European countries may not be as hard hit by the delivery delays as Canada has experienced and will continue to experience.

Canada sits at just 1.44% of its population vaccinated, well behind the pace of other nations.

Our nation cannot secure jobs, we cannot secure our economic recovery, we cannot secure the future without vaccines. Conservatives are deeply frustrated by the government’s on-going failure to procure and deliver vaccines for Canadians.

As such, Canada’s Conservatives are calling on the Liberal government to:

1. Tell Canadians what specific steps they are taking to make up this shortfall;
2. Tell Canadians honestly when they can reasonably expect to be vaccinated;
3. Disclose Canada’s precedence against other countries in the vaccine delivery schedules for the contracts they’ve signed; and
4. Deliver an emergency plan that gets vaccines to Canadians.

Please know MP Chiu is working with his colleagues to support Canadians and hold the government to account for their ongoing mismanagement of priorities during this pandemic.

I wish you and your family good health, please stay safe and continue follow all necessary guidelines to help restrict the spread of COVID-19. We can make it through this together.

Sincerely,

Jennifer Daviau
Parliamentary Assistant
Office of Kenny Chiu M.P.
Steveston—Richmond East
Shadow Minister for Diversity, Inclusion and Youth

177 Confederation Bldg., House of Commons
Office | 613-992-1385
E-mail | Jennifer.jennekens-daviau.831@parl.gc.ca

P.S. I have included for your reference a recent statement delivered by our MP Michelle Rempel Garner on this topic. See below.

************************************

Canadians Need a Vaccine. Now.

CALGARY, AB – The Hon. Michelle Rempel Garner, Shadow Minister for Health, issued the following statement regarding the Liberal government’s failure to get vaccines for Canadians:

“Before Christmas, Justin Trudeau said Canadians would be at the front of the global line for a vaccine. This was clearly a lie.

“Canadian provinces are running out of vaccines and are pleading for the federal government to get more. Meanwhile, people in Israel are getting their vaccines ten times faster than Canadians. The United States is on track to vaccinate the equivalent of our population before most Canadians will get the chance. But Canada only has a federal Liberal government finger-pointing on who is responsible for a slow vaccine delivery roll-out and a severe lack of widespread rapid or at-home testing options.

“It doesn’t matter how many doses the federal Liberals supposedly ordered; the reality is that they’re not here now.

“Morgues are overflowing. People are under curfew. Outbreaks in long-term care homes continue. Small businesses are permanently shuttering. Suicides and domestic violence levels are skyrocketing. The pandemic has reached levels we’ve never seen before. It didn’t have to be this way.

“Canadians deserve better than sitting in lockdown, under curfew, civil liberties removed with COVID-19 case numbers skyrocketing, while refrigerator trucks are brought to morgues and provinces are waiting for more vaccines. The federal Liberals have had months to take the leadership role Canadians are counting on to get these things done.

“We are calling on Justin Trudeau to get provinces vaccines to deliver. Every day that we delay getting vaccines to vulnerable Canadians puts more Canadian lives at risk.”

Reasoning for slow roll-out of COVID-19 vaccine in Canada

This week I sent the following email to my Member of Parliament (MP, Kenny Chiu) and my Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA, Kelly Greene), copied to the Prime Minister of Canada and the Premier of British Columbia. I’m not expecting a substantive — or any! — reply from any of them, to be frank. However, if I do I’ll update this post or make a new one.


From: Craig Hartnett
To: kenny.chiu_AT_parl.gc.ca, kelly.greene.mla_AT_leg.bc.ca
CC: pm_AT_pm.gc.ca, premier_AT_gov.bc.ca, letters_AT_nationalpost.com, sunletters_AT_vancouversun.com
Subject: Reasoning for slow roll-out of COVID-19 vaccine in Canada
Date: Thu, 14 Jan 2021 21:09:28 -0800

Dear Mr. Chiu and Ms. Greene,

I write to both of you with respect to the roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccine in Canada. From my point of view, it seems that (currently) acquisition is a Federal responsibility, and administration and deployment a Provincial one. Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe my concern should be addressed to both levels of government.

Like the vast majority of Canadians, I (and to the best of my knowledge, my family and friends, to whom this email is blind-copied) have been following provincial health guidelines. I and we are not heroes for doing this, but we have trusted our health officials and interrupted our lives accordingly.

It is not a surprise to me that life did not “go back to normal” a week after the first vaccine was approved. I’m not that stupid. However, it shocks me to hear that India plans to vaccinate 300 million of its citizens by July, while Canada’s lofty goal is to vaccinate an eighth as many people (38 million) by September. (I do note that 300 million people is only about 22% of its population; I also note that both figures are just projections.) Israel — a much smaller country I do admit without the geographical and meteorological challenges of Canada — has already vaccinated one million people, about 11% of its population. (These Israeli numbers are already out of date; they have now vaccinated 25% of their population, over two million people!)

I’m not engaging in “vaccine nationalism” here, but these figures tell me that there is absolutely no sense of urgency on the part of Canadian governments to vaccinate our populace. On newscasts, doctors and other medical officials have told us that vaccination is a complicated, multi-step and time-consuming process, but if the danger was more clear and present, I suspect those bureaucratic obstacles could be cleared in short order.

If we can mount Federal elections across this vast country in a span of twelve hours, why the hell can’t we mount the same effort — with volunteers also carrying out complicated, multi-step tasks and record-keeping — to get our population vaccinated sooner? I’m not suggesting we can vaccinate the entire country in one day, and I realise that we have to wait our turn for supplies of vaccines, but the September time line seem utterly and ridiculously low, especially when compared with India’s goals.

What’s more important? Vaccinations, fewer deaths and a recovering economy, or paperwork and record-keeping?

Canadians are tired, and it shows in the numbers. We’re also tired of politicians over-promising and under-delivering. According to the CBC, Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin has “conceded Canada’s vaccine supply will be rather ‘limited’ for the first three months of this year ….” This goes against all of the talk of prominent politicians, not the least of which is Prime Minister Justin Trudeau! Sure, Mr. Trudeau has promised we’ll all be vaccinated by the end of September, but as shown above, two months before that date India will have vaccinated eight Canadas!

Canada needs more imagination and determination than we are currently showing. At the very least, the country should consider employing the military in the process, but there are other ideas out there too.

I believe that Canada needs to work overtime to pick up the pace. What are you doing to impress upon our Prime Minister and Premier that they’re not doing enough?

Yours sincerely,

Craig Hartnett

Richmond BC

Cc:

  • Prime Minister of Canada, The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau
  • Premier of British Columbia, The Honourable John Horgan
  • National Post, Editor
  • Vancouver Sun, Editor

Bcc:

  • Family and friends

Following this, I received this email from one of my correspondents:

The story all along has been that everyone would be vaccinated by September. Given that the approved vaccines require two doses one would infer that ‘vaccinated’ meant that everyone would have received two shots. Story has changed today — now it is that everyone will have received one shot by September. This country is run by a bunch of fucking retards. They turned down extra Moderna doses and that option has now gone and ordered more Pfizer doses. Well, we know where that went today. So Trudeau kept on about how many millions of doses they had contracts for but they don’t seem to be worth the paper they’re written on because fuck all is showing up. We are behind Slovenia for god’s sake (maybe that has something to do with Melania).

As for the twits who, with no medical background, keep on about extending the time between shots — they should all be fired and people with brains put in as replacements.

My reply:

I mocked Michelle Rempel — Conservative, attention-loving, blonde MP from Alberta — when she called Trudeau et al. “incompetent”, despite the fact that it was the Conservatives who let vaccine manufacturers close up shop here years ago, but maybe she was right!

I was blown away when Hillier speculated about extending the time between shots, and I told […] he sounded like trump! And then, to my surprise, “experts” all over government were agreeing with him! It’s a bloody joke!

Trudeau keeps going on about meeting the September promise, with no mention of how pathetic that goal is!