Health Minister Patty Hajdu told Cabinet yesterday that Canada would be prepared for the next global pandemic, staying quiet on fumbling Canada's national stockpile of $1.8 billion worth of medical supplies.
“This is a global pandemic the size of which we have not seen in a hundred years,” said Hajdu. “We have a lot of work to do to prepare for the next one.”
According to the June 2 Supplementary Estimates, cabinet estimated that $1.8 billion worth of equipment was budgeted for “payments to acquire protective gear and medical equipment" following the Trudeau government's failure to stockpile.
Since then, the agency has ordered medical equipment by the plane load, having ordered "333 million surgical masks, 133 million medical gowns, 107 million high-grade N95 masks and 55 million face shields," according to Blacklock's Reporter.
The majority of that equipment was made in China, according to Deputy Public Works Minister Bill Matthews.
Though figures have not been released by the Public Health Agency, it acknowledged that three out of 11 warehouses worth of equipment had to be closed, with millions of valuable items having to be landfilled. That includes over 2,000,000 N95 masks that were tossed in 2019.
On May 24, Dr. Theresa Tam told a government committee that "There was definitely a small amount [of wasted PPE]... It wasn’t a lot."
Despite reports about Canada's dwindling national emergency stockpile coming from whistleblowers, Dr. Tam did not tell the committee the precise figures. They have also not denied these reports of neglect.
As the committee progressed, an NDP Member of Parliament asked Dr. Tam whether she had advised the government that the medical stockpile was unprepared for a pandemic.
Liberal Health Minister Patty Hajdu cut Dr. Tam off before she could answer the question, leading to the Shadow Finance Minister Pierre Poilievre to call it a "cover-up."