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Conservatives press Trudeau government for COVID-19 re-opening plan

Last Updated Mar 23, 2021 at 2:43 pm PDT

Conservative MP Erin O'Toole listens during the Conservative caucus retreat on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, on January 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Summary

Conservative leader calls on feds to provide plan in the next 20 days outlining Canada's path out of COVID lockdowns

Erin O'Toole says the U.S. and U.K. both have produced their own plans for re-opening

Vast majority of COVID-19 measures are decisions made by provincial governments

OTTAWA – MPs are debating a Conservative motion in the House of Commons Tuesday which calls on the Trudeau government to release a plan that details when the country will see an end to COVID-19 lockdowns.

The Conservative Party wants to see that plan in the next 20 days.

“A clear, data-driven plan to support gradually, safely, and permanently lifting COVID-19 restrictions,” Tory Leader Erin O’Toole said. “It is neither socially or economically sustainable to rely heavily on rotating lockdowns while we wait for an effective vaccine to be widely administered.”

O’Toole noted the U.S. and U.K. both have their own plans.

“But Mr. Trudeau refuses to give Canadians clarity on whether and when regular and social life will be able to resume, and under what circumstances and conditions,” he added.

However, aside from border and international travel restrictions, a vast majority of lockdown measures are decisions from provincial governments.

But O’Toole dismisses any jurisdictional questions saying, “surely if the prime minister can call for greater restrictions, he can also indicate the conditions and plan for a safe and responsible reopening.”

The motion comes as Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam urges everyone to keep following health orders, as the number of cases of COVID-19 continues to rise.

“Over the past week, there has been a further 15 per cent increase in daily cases, with an average of over 3,600 new cases daily. Increased infection rates are starting to impact severe outcome trends, including hospitalizations and deaths,” she said Tuesday.

Variants also continue to present a concern. There have been 5,154 confirmed cases involving more transmissible variants, with the highest concentration in B.C., Alberta, Ontario, and Quebec.

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There have been 5,154 confirmed cases involving more transmissible variants, with the highest concentration in B.C., Alberta, Ontario, and Quebec.

This also comes after concerns were raised about a recent AstraZeneca trial in the United States. Health officials in that country said on Tuesday that results from the trial may have used “outdated information,” with the Data and Safety Monitoring Board saying it was concerned that AstraZeneca may have provided an incomplete view of the efficacy data.

AstraZeneca said on Monday its vaccine is 79 per cent effective in preventing COVID-19 symptoms, and 100 per cent effective in preventing severe illness.