Emergency House of Commons debate on COVID-19 devolves into finger-pointing

An emergency parliamentary debate that was supposed to be a forum for cross-party collaboration on better ways to combat the COVID-19 pandemic has devolved into another round of partisan finger-pointing.

Veteran Green MP Elizabeth May requested the debate, appealing to MPs to stop the blame game and think about how Canada can develop a more nationally co-ordinated approach to the pandemic that is raging out of control in some provinces.

Both the Greens and NDP suggest it’s time for the federal government to invoke the Emergencies Act, which would enable it to shut down interprovincial travel and lockdown areas experiencing community spread of the more contagious variants of COVID-19 — rather than leaving it up to provincial and territorial governments.

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But Conservative and Bloc Quebecois MPs are using the opportunity to rehash their criticism of the Liberal government’s handling of the health crisis.

Conservatives are blaming Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s failure to secure a stable supply of vaccines in January and February for the third wave of COVID-19 sweeping across the country.

May says she’s saddened by the finger-pointing and argues there’s plenty of blame to go around but it’s urgent right now to focus on how Canada can do better, not on what went wrong in the past.

© 2021 The Canadian Press

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