The Trudeau government continues to try to rewrite history and even drag civil servants into the fray while deflecting blame for their handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Health Minister Patty Hajdu and Canada’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, appeared before the House of Commons Government Operations Committee on Friday, both singing from the same hymnbook as they proclaimed Canada’s National Emergency Strategic Stockpile was never meant to carry the much sought after personal protective equipment now needed by frontline healthcare workers.
“The National Emergency Stockpile was never actually meant to accumulate personal protective equipment,” Hajdu said.
“They are being economical with the truth,” said former cabinet minister Tony Clement, using a Parliamentary euphemism for lying.
Clement was Ontario’s health minister during the 2003 SARS crisis and then federal health minister from 2006 through 2008. He oversaw the growth of the Public Health Agency and the expansion of the stockpile to include significant PPE.
Set up in 2004 after SARS, the Public Health Agency of Canada was put in charge of the stockpile that had been around since the 1950s. There was a renewed emphasis on being prepared for a new, novel virus, such as SARS, or like the one we are experiencing now, COVID-19.
“The stockpile was definitely supposed to carry PPE, especially N95 masks. That came out of our experience with SARS,” Clement said in a telephone interview Friday.
The stockpile of PPE was set up to act as a backstop for the provinces, something Tam herself wrote about in a pandemic preparedness plan for the government in 2006. She and her colleagues wrote of the need to have “a consistent 16-week supply” of necessities, including gowns, gloves, masks and face shields.