Green Leader Annamie Paul notes silence of opposition leaders during biggest national emergency in 80 years

OTTAWA – As Canada’ s COVID-19 cases pass the 300,000 mark Green Party Leader Annamie Paul questions the absence of Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole, Bloc leader Yves-François Blanchet and NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh in addressing the biggest national crisis of our time.

“Yesterday, the opposition parties had the opportunity to join me in my call for an intergovernmental COVID-19 task force led by health officials and guided by science,” said Ms. Paul. “Instead, on a day when 74 Canadians died of COVID-19, the NDP chose to use their parliamentary time to call for President-elect Biden to visit Canada. 

“While we all look forward to his first official visit to Canada, I would remind them that the President-elect's first order of business upon winning the U.S. election was to convene his own national COVID-19 task force. The time spent on that motion should have been used to focus on Canadians and their families who need our help and attention.

“We’re now averaging 4,000 coronavirus cases and 50 deaths per day, with more than 45,000 active cases across the country. A record of nearly 5,000 cases and 83 deaths were reported in a single day in Canada this week and we’re on track to record over 10,000 cases a day by early next month. 

“The pandemic has claimed thousands of lives, and may claim thousands more. It has laid waste to our economy and has left no part of Canadian society untouched. This is the biggest national crisis our country has faced in the past 80 years and it’s time the Prime Minister and leaders of all parties acknowledge this, and collaborate to form a national, coordinated response.

“Across the country, doctors, nurses and medical associations are pleading with the federal government to intervene. We have concrete examples of countries that have implemented much more effective strategies to get this pandemic under control – Australia, Taiwan, New Zealand and South Korea to name a few. All these countries had national approaches.

“So today, again, I call on the federal government to strike an intergovernmental COVID-19 task force that will immediately begin the work of implementing a national strategic coordination. The intergovernmental COVID task force would be composed of medical and health experts from each level of government mandated to develop (among other protocols):

  • National thresholds which trigger predetermined measures
  • Coordinated messaging on the use of personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • A unified national coding system
  • National testing and tracing protocols

Ms. Paul pointed out that Dr. Ann Collins, president of the Canadian Medical Association, stated in a recent CBC interview: “There has been a lack of collaboration and coordination…and where the breakdown has occurred is that that information has not necessarily been brought together in a collaborative way with levels of government.” 

“It is vital that we listen to our medical leaders,” said Ms. Paul. “I echo the Canadian Medical Association's call to the Prime Minister and leaders of all parties to join together as quickly as possible to come up with the best path forward to protect the health of all Canadians.

For more information or to arrange an interview:

Rosie Emery
Press Secretary