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David Staples: Trudeau needs to deliver on his promise for Canadians to be ‘first in line’ for vaccines


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But, behold, a miracle.

Numerous vaccines around the world have been found to be safe and effective. With my two frail parents in the brutal isolation of quarantine, I’m keen for them to cash in on Trudeau’s “first in line” promise.

But I’m starting to wonder when that will happen. Last week Trudeau backtracked suddenly on his “first in line” promise, saying Canada would at least be behind countries like the United States, Germany and the U.K., which manufacture the promising vaccines. The majority of Canadians, he said, might be vaccinated by next September.

My doubts grew after talking to two MPs, the Don Davies of the NDP and Matt Jeneroux of the Conservatives, who have been doggedly digging into Trudeau’s COVID promises and plans since last January.

When they started to question federal vaccine plans last spring at health committee meetings, they found it difficult to pin down anything concrete in terms of production or procurement. “It essentially meant they were weeks, months, behind other countries,” Jeneroux said. “Now we’re seeing the ramifications of all that.”

Both have been frustrated by the lack of information. “It’s just been a torturous repetition of vague assurances,” Davies said.

Jeneroux and Davies watched as Trudeau’s first big plan, working with the Chinese on a vaccine to be tested and produced in Canada, crashed in August, with the Chinese reneging on promised vaccine.

And they watched as another Trudeau promise went sideways, with construction delays hitting a new public-private Montreal lab which was slated to produce 250,000 doses in November, ramping up to two million doses per month by 2021.



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