An emergency debate in Parliament regarding the federal government’s COVID-19 response pushed into the early hours of Wednesday morning.
The talks were focused on Canada’s vaccine rollout and the latest details surrounding the delay in shipments of the Pfizer-BioNTech doses.
Opposition leaders continued to put pressure on the federal government in the House of Commons, calling for more transparency from Justin Trudeau and requesting a timeline for when vaccines can be widely distributed.
“We need a clear plan with deadlines, timelines, with specific details,” said NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh. “We want the Liberal government to be clear with Canadians. When will we receive vaccines, who will get vaccinated and how quickly will that happen?”
Singh said Canada’s vaccine rollout has been a failure compared to other nations.
“In the U.K., in American even, a clear plan for procurement and for delivery and they are doing better than us,” said Singh. “So this is where the Liberal government has certainly failed, in having a plan.”
Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole told the House that Canadians have the right to know when they will be able to go back to work.
There are rising concerns that Europe might move to impose export controls on COVID-19 vaccine doses manufactured on the continent.
All of Canada’s current vaccine doses from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna are made in Europe, potentially putting at risk the entirety of Canada’s vaccine deliveries.
Europe – like Canada – is facing deferred shipments from Pfizer as the company slows production to expand its plant in Belgium.
Trudeau said on Tuesday that he is “very confident” Canada is going to get all the doses promised by the end of March and spoke to the Moderna CEO, who informed him that Canada will receive additional vaccine shipments “in a timely manner”.
The federal government announced last week that Canada expects to receive 79,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine next week after not getting any new deliveries this week.
-With files from the Canadian Press