MPs are vowing to get to the bottom of the woeful mismanagement of the national stockpile of pandemic medical supplies. The shortages led to great waste and vice-president of the Public Health Agency Sally Thornton refuses to disclose just how much equipment was discarded before the pandemic.
“Normally we won’t disclose what’s in the warehouses,” Thornton said in a meeting of the Commons government operations committee.
“I will be wanting to get to the bottom of this. This is a national scandal,” NDP MP Matthew Green responded
Blacklocks reports that the Public Health Agency "failed to stock up on goods like high-grade N95 pandemic masks though it was mandated for pandemic preparedness. Three of nine supply warehouses were closed prior to the Covid-19 outbreak, including a Regina depot shuttered in 2019 with the landfilling of two million N95 masks and 440,000 medical gloves."
When asked by Green to disclose how much equipment was discarded, Thornton said, "I do not have that information." And when asked how many N95 masks were meant to be in the storage, Thornton said, "I have no number."
"If you’re telling me today you had systems and principles in place that resulted in discarding two million masks just in Regina, and that we closed other warehouses, I’m only to assume by the logic of those decisions in those other locations, other critical personal protective equipment was discarded along with it," said Green.
Thornton said that the shortages were "not driven by specific cuts."
Bloc Québécois MP Julie Vignola added her voice to the debate: "I just don’t understand. This is money that was just thrown away like garbage. So many resources were wasted. We’re talking about money. These supplies literally went into the garbage."
The Trudeau government announced at the end of March that it would spend $2 billion on additional medical supplies. More recently, Trudeau has promised to overhaul the national stockpile policy.