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Trudeau wants an audience, not an opposition – Red Deer – Lacombe MP Blaine Calkins

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Justin Trudeau has made it clear that he would like to permanently replace Parliament with press conferences. He wants an audience, not an Opposition and this is absolutely unacceptable.

Let me be clear, this isn’t a partisan issue. This is about whether or not a democratic country like Canada should have a functional Parliament and frankly, right now with 1 in-person sitting day that lasts about two hours and 2 virtual sitting days that each last a couple of hours each a week we do not have a functional Parliament. Without regular sittings of Parliament, there is no regular oversight of the Liberal government. It’s no wonder they don’t want to come back. Moreover they are supported by the other opposition parties.

I am ready to go back to work in Ottawa in a safe and responsible manner! Canada’s Conservatives are the only party who are pressing for a return to Parliament with regular working hours but with a reduced number of MPs for safety. If members of the Bloc or the NDP, or the Liberal back bench don’t believe that Parliament is an essential service, they should answer as to why they ran for office in the first place.

Conservatives strongly believe in the role of Parliament. It is vital and it must be fully restored.

Hundreds of thousands of Canadians are hurting right now and they need our help. They need Members of Parliament to return to Ottawa to fight for them.

Alberta

Alberta joins Ontario in lowering minimum age for AstraZeneca vaccine

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Two provinces will offer the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to those aged 40 and over starting Tuesday, officials announced Sunday following days of mounting pressure to lower the minimum age.

Alberta and Ontario had previously stuck to the National Advisory Committee on Immunization’s recommendation to offer the AstraZeneca shot to those 55 and over due to a slightly elevated risk of an extremely rare blood clot disorder.

But as hospitalizations surged to unprecedented levels in Ontario and Alberta saw unparalleled rates of COVID-19, their governments announced matching plans to expand eligibility.

“Alberta is lowering the minimum age to receive the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine from 55 to 40,” Alberta Premier Jason Kenney tweeted on Sunday night. “This decision is based on growing scientific knowledge about the vaccine.”

He said more information would come Monday, and bookings would open Tuesday.

The office of Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott made a similar announcement hours earlier.

“Based on current supply, Ontario will begin offering the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to individuals aged 40 and over at pharmacy and primary care settings across the province effective Tuesday,” spokeswoman Alexandra Hilkene said in an email.

The statement came after Elliott’s federal counterpart told a news conference that such a move was well within the provinces’ jurisdiction.

“NACI provides advice to provinces and territories,” Health Minister Patty Hajdu said. “They can adjust their use for AstraZeneca as per their desire and the advice from their own public health authorities and medical expertise.”

She noted that Health Canada has licensed the AstraZeneca shot for use in people over the age of 18.

“NACI continues to review the advice on AstraZeneca use and will have updated guidance in the very near future,” Hajdu added.

Anthony Dale, president and CEO of the Ontario Hospital Association, tweeted that there is “‘surplus supply at risk of expiring.”

The head of the Ontario Pharmacists Association said most AstraZeneca doses in Ontario don’t expire until the end of May, but that a timer starts ticking as soon as a vial — which contains 10 doses — is punctured.

“Once a vial is punctured, it is only viable for up to 48 hours when stored in a fridge or six hours when not in the fridge,” Justin Bates said.

He said vaccine hesitancy around AstraZeneca has led to last-minute appointment cancellations, meaning some of those doses could go to waste — something pharmacists are working hard to avoid.

Many Ontario physicians took to social media to express their frustration with the province’s lack of action on the issue ahead of Sunday’s announcement.

“Pharmacies, listen up. DO NOT WASTE A SINGLE DOSE OF THE AZ VACCINE. Explain the risk and obtain informed consent to administer to people under age 55,” Dr. Brian Goldman said in a tweet Sunday.

Dr. Irfan Dhalla, vice-president of Unity Health Toronto, agreed.

“It’s hard to imagine the provincial government coming after pharmacies or family doctors for using AZ in people (under) 55,” he tweeted.

Later, he praised Elliott’s decision and urged the province to send more to COVID-19 hot spots.

Steven Del Duca, who heads up the Liberal party in the province, took that call even further.

“Doug Ford must release the AstraZeneca vaccine from pharmacy freezers and get it into the arms of anyone over 18 in a hot spot,” he tweeted Sunday. “(Patty Hajdu) was clear: there is nothing stopping him from getting shots into arms.”

Those in Alberta had made similar calls.

“It sounds like Alberta is having trouble using its AstraZeneca. Lower the minimum age; Gen X can help!” Lisa Young, a political science professor at the University of Calgary, tweeted earlier in the week.

Some have been hesitant to get the AstraZeneca vaccine due to a rare blood clotting condition, which has thus far affected two Canadians — one in Quebec and one in Alberta.

More than 700,000 doses of AstraZeneca have been administered in this country.

The global frequency of the blood clot disorder, known as vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia, or VITT, has been estimated at about one case in 100,000 to 250,000 doses.

The risk of developing blood clots due to COVID-19 is much higher, and experts say people should accept the first vaccine they’re offered.

Meanwhile, the federal government announced Sunday that it was mobilizing its own resources and co-ordinating with lesser-hit provinces to send health-care workers and other support to help Ontario as it battles record-breaking COVID-19 numbers.

It wasn’t immediately clear how the Ontario government would respond to Ottawa’s offer.

Hospitalizations and admissions to intensive care units continued to reach record heights in the province, which reported 4,250 new COVID-19 infections in the last 24 hours.

Ontario announced a number of new restrictions to quell the skyrocketing numbers, but has faced pressure to roll back limits on outdoor activities, which critics have said will do little to stop the spread.

Meanwhile, data released by Canada’s chief public health officer indicated the average daily number of hospitalizations and deaths in the country jumped by more than 30 per cent between April 9 and 15 compared to the week before.

The latest national figures showed an average of 3,428 people with COVID-19 were being treated in Canadian hospitals each day during the most recent seven-day reporting period, representing a 34 per cent increase over the week before.

An average of 41 people died each day during the same stretch, which is 38 per cent higher than the previous week.

Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam said cases, test positivity rates and intensive care admissions are all rising as Canada battles a wave of COVID-19 that is driven by more contagious virus variants.

Quebec, meanwhile, reported more than 1,300 new infections in the past 24 hours.

Nunavut counted three new cases of COVID-19, for a total of 22 active cases.

Prince Edward Island recorded three new cases, while Nova Scotia logged seven and New Brunswick added 10.

Farther west, Manitoba recorded 170 new cases of the virus and one added death, while Saskatchewan counted 289 new cases and one death.

Alberta, which is currently dealing with the highest rate of COVID-19 per capita in Canada, reported 1,516 new cases of the virus and three more deaths.

As of Sunday evening, Alberta’s rate of active COVID-19 cases was 405.6 per 100,000, compared to 282.26 per 100,000 in Ontario.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 18, 2021.

— With files from Morgan Lowrie in Montreal and Rob Drinkwater in Edmonton

Nicole Thompson, The Canadian Press

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COVID-19

MP’s report – A laundry list of Covid-19 failures should unite Canadians against PM Trudeau

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“A house divided against itself cannot stand.” – Abraham Lincoln
It is indeed a challenging time for Canadians. At no time in our recent history, possibly our entire history, has our nation been as divided as it is today. In the last 6 years we have been divided East to West and coast to coast to coast. In the last year we have been divided by province and territory and within our own province we have been divided by political party, by opinion and even by our faith. We have been divided by fear and we have been divided by anger. Make no mistake we ARE divided.
Unfortunately, not much has changed since the start of COVID-19 more than a year ago. Hospitalizations are on the rise and sadly, Albertans have died. We are still living under restrictions, businesses and livelihoods have been lost, increasingly families are in crisis and there is no end in sight. A year ago, we were “all in this together” and right now it appears that Canadians are trying to paddle the boat in two different directions, and we are getting nowhere.
I have no doubt that our current situation would be much less dire were it not for the failings of the Liberal government. Their series of missteps, misdirection, and mistakes have cost Canadians dearly.
In 2019, the Liberal government silenced the Global Public Health Intelligence Network (GPHIN), the early warning system that would have detected the COVID-19 pandemic just months before it began. According to the Globe and Mail “With no pandemic scares in recent memory, the government felt GPHIN was too internationally focused, and therefore not a good use of funding” (https://www.theglobeandmail.com/…/article-without…/)
The Liberal government then failed to close borders to our country, a decision that may have increased the number of cases in our country. They even went so far as to tell Canadians that closing the borders would not work and even suggested that we might be considered racists for doing so (https://www.cbc.ca/…/covid-coronavirus-pandemic-trudeau…). It took Canada a full month to follow the lead of our nearest neighbour before deciding to close the borders and in doing so finally closed Roxham Road (https://torontosun.com/…/editorial-finally-roxham-road…).
Canadians then learned that the Liberal government had let millions of pieces of PPE expire and did not replenish the national stockpile – leaving us short of the N-95 masks and gloves needed for our front-line workers (https://www.cbc.ca/…/heath-minister-emergency-stockpile…). If this weren’t enough, we then learned that the Trudeau Liberals sent 16 metric tonnes of PPE to China in February of 2020. (https://www.theglobeandmail.com/…/article-ottawa-faces…/). Let us not ignore the fact that the Liberal government flip-flopped on mask use, causing further confusion for Canadians (https://torontosun.com/…/editorial-the-great-canadian…).
The Liberals even managed to bungle the procurement of vaccines. Foolishly Trudeau inked a deal with China to provide Canada with vaccines; essentially putting all of our vaccine eggs in one basket – he then waited three months to tell Canadians that the deal had fallen through (https://ottawacitizen.com/…/glavin-trudeau-should-stop…). It then became a mad scramble to procure vaccines and in doing so the government has panic-purchased 350 million vaccines – enough to vaccinate all Canadians nearly ten times over. (https://www.cbc.ca/…/trudeau-moe-conservatives-vaccine…). Even with all of these vaccines, the Liberals still had to beg the United States (https://www.ctvnews.ca/…/canada-finalizing-deal-with-u…) and take vaccines from COVAX, an organization designed to assist less wealthy nations to obtain vaccines (https://www.cbc.ca/…/covax-explainer-canada-backlash-1…) because of the delays associated with their late procurement of vaccines. Liberals were also slow at approving the use of rapid testing – a key to reopening businesses and schools (https://www.ctvnews.ca/…/rapid-testing-in-canada…).
What has remained consistent during the last year is the Liberal’s ability to hide and to deflect responsibilities. Amidst scandal, the Liberal’s prorogued Parliament, eliminating the ability of opposition parties to suggest meaningful changes to legislation, which in turn delayed assistance to those who needed help the most. They failed to procure vaccines and rapid tests, key essentials to helping the provinces reopen and then sits back when the provinces shoulder the responsibility of managing restrictions designed to keep Canadians safe.
It’s hard to imagine, but recently, the CDC advised that “travelers should avoid all travel to Canada” (https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/…/destinations/traveler/none/canada). This is our current reputation. As we watch the rest of the world open up, we will continue to lag behind and in turn our economic recover will suffer. This, as the rest of the COVID-19 response, lies squarely at the feet of Justin Trudeau.
I care about every person that I represent. I care about the future of our children; I care about the future of our businesses and our economy and I care about the health and well being of all Canadians. I would like to see our students in school, I would like to our graduates have ceremonies and be able to experience university on campus, not in their bedrooms. I would like to see businesses and churches with their doors wide open and I would like to visit communities and meet with the people I represent face to face. Whether you are a senior, a front-line worker, a teacher, a businessperson or someone who has been personally affected by COVID-19, I believe at the end of the day we all want the same thing. Unfortunately, these are not easy times; Canadians have lost on all fronts under the leadership of Justin Trudeau, and we are not out of the woods yet.
In just a few days, the Liberals will table a budget – this budget will be filled with promises that we simply cannot afford and will continue to divide us. He will bribe you with your own money and tell you how grateful you should be for the actions of his Liberal government. He will tell you proudly that “8 of every 10 dollars spent in Canada to fight #COVID19 and support Canadians has been spent by the federal government.”
(https://twitter.com/cathmck…/status/1334236619688308736…) – conveniently ignoring the fact that it’s actually all taxpayer’s money – he is spending your money.
Let us not be divided against each other. Instead let us recognize, together, why we are so divided and understand that it is the complete and utter failings of the Liberal government and how their decisions continue to divide Canadians. If the Liberal government won’t change, then it’s time to change the Liberal government.
Together we can do that.
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