Plans for the next pandemic should be tabled in House, Liberal MP urges

Click to play video: 'Marking 3 years of the COVID-19 pandemic with Dr. Bogoch'
Marking 3 years of the COVID-19 pandemic with Dr. Bogoch
WATCH - Marking 3 years of the COVID-19 pandemic with Dr. Bogoch – Mar 20, 2023

A parliamentary health committee is weighing the need for new legislation that would force the Public Health Agency of Canada to table its plans to prevent and prepare for future pandemics in the House of Commons.

Nate Erskine-Smith, a Liberal backbencher who is eyeing the Ontario Liberal leadership, is behind the private member’s bill.

He says the government needs to be held accountable on a regular basis so parliamentarians, experts and the public can make sure the government is doing enough to avert the kind of ordeal Canada endured during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Erskine-Smith’s bill also calls for an advisory committee to review Canada’s pandemic performance – but opposition parties are pushing back on that, calling instead for an independent inquiry.

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Erskine-Smith says the measure was not meant to preclude an independent review, but to avoid politicizing the bill he is fine with MPs removing it and focusing instead on holding future governments to account.

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A review was never intended to oust an independent review but he doesn’t want to get into the politics, and he’s fine with MPs removing that from the legislation, and focus instead on holding the government to account in the future.

In March the committee asked Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos about launching a review of Canada’s response to COVID-19 and he pointed to the private member’s bill, sparking concerns among opposition members that the government would use Erskine-Smith’s bill to sidestep a more independent investigation.

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