News Analysis

Trudeau Liberals say health minister is 'extremely busy,' cannot provide two-hour testimony to committee

Hajdu scheduled only 45 minutes of questioning at the coming committee meeting, angering members from both the NDP and the Conservative Party. Her last testimony was March 11.

Elie M. Cantin-Nantel The Post Millennial
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Health Minister Patricia Hajdu is being called upon by MPs to provide an at-length testimony at the Commons health committee for what would be the first time in over eight months.

Hajdu scheduled only 45 minutes of questioning at the coming committee meeting, angering members from both the New Democrats and the Conservative Party.

Calgary-Nose Hill MP Michelle Rempel Garner pointed out that 45 minutes was not enough for a department looking to spend an additional $25 billion in health spending.

“In the last year from my perspective, the government is seeing this review process and scrutiny as an inconvenience,” said Rempel Garner. “It’s actually fundamental.”

“She’s asking Parliament to spend billions of dollars,” she continued. “It seems a little ridiculous to me. In fact it seems a little contemptuous. How can you not?”

“Look, I have a lot of questions. This committee has not met for months. Honestly.”

Hajdu was originally asked to provide a two hour testimony, though Liberal MP Darren Fisher explained that the Health Minister was "extremely busy," meaning she would only be able to provide 45 minutes of her time, according to Blacklock's Reporter.

“We cannot compel the Minister to appear,” said Liberal MP and chair of the health committee Ron McKinnon. “She graciously agreed to do so.”

New Democrat MP Don Davies said that the Liberals should "be ashamed of themselves" for denying their duty to appear before the committee.

“It’s not an indulgence or a favour that the Minister and staff appear before this committee... We have the Minister of Health in the middle of the biggest pandemic in a century,” said Davies.

“If we decide we want the Minister here for two hours because in our wisdom we believe that’s the amount of time we need in order to have a fulsome explanation of the issues, then that’s the will of the committee.”

Hajdu's last testimony came on March 11.

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