42

Playing politics


 

Amid reports that Canada’s H1N1 plan is flawed, here is the first exchange in Question Period yesterday, Ralph Goodale leading the Liberal effort, the Prime Minister responding for the government.

Hon. Ralph Goodale (Wascana, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the United States, Australia and China are already vaccinating their populations against the H1N1 flu. Europe and Japan will begin within the next few days. Canada will not begin for another month. The health minister says that this is all according to her plan. Could the government explain the logic of any plan that deliberately puts Canada behind the rest of the world in protecting citizens against H1N1? What is the logic of that?

Right Hon. Stephen Harper (Prime Minister, CPC): Mr. Speaker, once again, the government bases its flu planning on the best advice of medical experts, including the chief medical officer. The immediate priority is seasonal flu vaccination. Canada will ensure that there is enough vaccine for every member of our population. That vaccine will be widely available the first week of November, as the government has said all along.

Hon. Ralph Goodale (Wascana, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the government is not doing the seasonal. In the United States, officials are distributing doses of H1N1 flu vaccine to health care workers, children and people who care for babies younger than six months old. Not surprisingly, pediatric offices in Canada are already getting calls from anxious parents who want the vaccine for their children now. Could the Prime Minister justify why Canadian children, the most vulnerable among us, must wait a full month longer than American children? Will he guarantee today that they will not have to wait longer still?

Right Hon. Stephen Harper (Prime Minister, CPC): Mr. Speaker, it is kind of amusing to see the Liberal Party now vaunting the U.S. health care system. As has been said all along, the government will ensure that the vaccine is available in the timeframe that the medical experts have advised. That will be available to all the Canadian population.

Hon. Ralph Goodale (Wascana, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the health minister says that this is not a race but vaccinations should be done before a disease hits. While other countries hurry to protect their citizens, the Conservatives say that there is no rush. They say that they have a plan but it is just a very slow one. Why? Did they order too late? Is it the clinical trials? Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer yesterday said, “Waiting for that data…is no reason to delay making sure people have the first dose and provide as much immunity as possible”. Why did the government actually plan a premeditated delay?

Right Hon. Stephen Harper (Prime Minister, CPC): Mr. Speaker, the government is following the advice of the Chief Public Health Officer. What we have here is a party that stands for absolutely nothing and is therefore trying to play politics with a public health issue. What the Liberals should do, instead of playing this two-faced game where they pretend to support tough on crime legislation but block it in the Senate, is go down to the Senate and tell their own senators to be honest with the Canadian people, to pass that legislation and stop letting criminals get away.


 

Playing politics

  1. You see, the problem is that the crime rate is declining, so the Harper's need something to boost it up.. hence the tough on crime bill.

    Flu cases are already ramping up on their own. They don't need Harper's help, that's why this H1N1 stuff isn't a priority.

  2. "Mr. Speaker, it is kind of amusing to see the Liberal Party now vaunting the U.S. health care system." and "What we have here is a party that stands for absolutely nothing and is therefore trying to play politics with a public health issue."

    When will this Prime Minister grow up?

    • Probably when his poll numbers go down.

  3. Yawn… Since when is it news that both major parties play politics in Question Period?

    Or are you trying to suggest only the Conservatives play politics? Yeah, sure.

    • What part of Goodale's questions is "playing politics"?

      Most developed countries in the world seem to have rolled out the vaccine already. Canada has not. Why not?

      Pretty straightforward example of the opposition doing its job.

      • If you are trying to pretend that Ralph doesn't play politics, then you watch a different Question Period than I do.

        I repeat. All parties play politics. Wherry knows that. Selective excerpts from QP don't change reality.

        • I'll ask again: what part of Goodale's questions is "playing politics"?

          • I'm new to this software… can anyone explain why my comment would be deleted instantly?

            If you can't read this comment, please disregard

          • IntenseDebate has some issues, one of which is that sometimes comments are posted but disappear into the ether never to be seen unless you look at the poster's profile page.

            It's not deleted deliberately, and there doesn't appear to be any rhyme or reason as to which comments get hit.

          • Thanks Charles,

            I wasn't even sure that I had submitted the post yet and suddenly a message popped up that the comment had been deleted by the Administrator. Took me by surprise.

            I don't think I could offend anyone that quickly even if I were trying! But you never know.

          • OK, if you had a thing pop up saying that it had been deleted by the Administrator, then I dunno. The ID issue I was talking about doesn't do that, or it's at least never done that to me.

          • When wavering between confusion and paranoia, I'll choose confusion whenever possible.

            Looking at my screen right now I'm wondering if I just deleted the damn thing by accident. Thanks for your assistance in any case.

          • OK, if you had a thing pop up saying it had been deleted by the Administrator, then I dunno. The ID issue I was talking about doesn't do that, or it's at least never done that to me.

  4. Canada has a Chief Medical Officer?

    • The position is Chief Public Health Officer of Canada, so not literally, but he's a doctor and plays the role federally that the Chief Medical Officers of Health have in the provinces. Dr. David Butler-Jones

  5. Harper apparently can't answer a serious question with a reasonable response. Partisan to the end. Classy guy, our PM.

    • The question (and it was not a serious question) has been answered over and over and over again already. The only reason Ralph Goodale is asking it again is because the issue made it into the newspaper yesterday.

      Gratuitous slurs are the bread and butter of Question Period.

      • Seems to me that Goodale is simply asking why we aren't vaccinating as early as other countries. Harper then hides behind his experts and provides no details on why we're doing this. Kind of ironic considering how the Conservatives dealt with the isotope crisis by attacking the experts.

    • "the government bases its flu planning on the best advice of medical experts, including the chief medical officer."

      Sounds like an answer to me.

      • And then Harper proceeds to say:

        "Mr. Speaker, it is kind of amusing to see the Liberal Party now vaunting the U.S. health care system."
        and:
        "What the Liberals should do, instead of playing this two-faced game where they pretend to support tough on crime legislation but block it in the Senate, is go down to the Senate and tell their own senators to be honest with the Canadian people, to pass that legislation and stop letting criminals get away."

        Last time I checked the H1N1 outbreak has nothing to do with crime legislation. Yeah, Harper isn't being partisan. Yeah, right…

  6. The vaccine offered right now in the US is a nasal spray, and a LIVE virus, and because of that, it's distribution is very limited.

    But, our media knows that. And so do the Libs.

    • So why didn't the Prime Minister say that?

    • So why didn't he just say that Wilson?

      That's a rhetorical question.

  7. "What we have here is a party that stands for absolutely nothing and is therefore trying to play politics with a public health issue. What the Liberals should do, instead of playing this two-faced game where they pretend to support tough on crime legislation but block it in the Senate, is go down to the Senate and tell their own senators to be honest with the Canadian people, to pass that legislation and stop letting criminals get away."

    I'm all for the freedom of parliamentarians, but am I alone in thinking there ought to be a rule forcing them to confine their answers to the frigging question posed?

    • And one more thing: is our Prime Minister really saying that criminals are *getting away*? Really?

      • More likely that Harper just exceeded his response time and was cut off in the middle of a sentence.

    • If it is so critical to "stop letting criminals get away", then why did Conservative senators vote against the Liberal motion to expedite the vote and then postpone it for a week or so?

  8. Ralph`s first question concerned the timing of the H1N1 vaccination—-The PM replied that the Gov`t has not changed and that vaccinations will begin in early Nov. Instead of asking a follow up question of maybe a more technical mode concerning where and when the vaccinations will begin, Ralph chose to ask a question about why the PM would like to see Canadian children die from the flu–kind of a when did you stop beating your wife question.

    The PM chose not to repeat his answer that he gave to the first question. So I hope all you Lib coms. will give Aaron a break—-he would never imply that only the PM plays politics. It`s just that Canadians are really getting annoyed by the dirty politics played by Ralphie Iggy and gang.

  9. Partisan crap aside, something here makes no sense. We know that everything – EVERYTHING – this government touches is vetted for political impact. We also know that every other western country decided to fast track the vaccine and now have it available. Further, the CMA has been screaming that our vaccine plan is too little too late. The PM claims he is simply operating on the advice of the the government's health officers and thus chose to behave differently that every other western country. Why? Because we're smarter than the others or because there is something unique about this country and H1N1? Perhaps the PM is just a wild risk taker. Not to be custom fitted for a tin foil cap, but there is something here that just doesn't feel right. It makes no sense for our PM to be putting himself out on this limb by choice. Can't help but feel there is something that the press and public have yet to learn that is behind what appears to be a politically bizarre decision.

    • If Liberal partisans truly believe that this government or any government would really play politics with a flu epidemic, then they are even more paranoid than I tought they were. There are legitimate questions that can be asked about a government's management of the roll out, but to charge that it is being done for political advantage stretches credibility and demonstrates why the general public is so tired of the hyper-partisanship of Michael Ignatieff.

    • If Liberal partisans tryuly believe that this government or any government would really play politics with a flu epidemic, then they are even more paranoid than I tought they were. There are legitimate questions that can be asked about a government's management of the roll out, but to charge that it is being done for political advantage stretches credibility and demonstrates why the general public is so tired of the hyper-partisanship of Michael Ignatieff.

    • If Liberal partisans truly believe that this government or any government would really play politics with a flu epidemic, then they are even more paranoid than I thought they were. There are legitimate questions that can be asked about the government's management of the roll out, but to charge that it is being done for political advantage stretches credibility and demonstrates why the general public is so tired of the hyper-partisanship of Michael Ignatieff.

      • I'm a Conservative. I didn't even approach the suggestion that this is being done for political advantage. Simply suggested that Harper appears to be taking uncharacteristic risk by taking a path different than other western countries. I'm suggesting there is reason he chose this route and that we have yet to hear it.

  10. Goodale his ZERO, ZERO credibility!

  11. "Playing politics" v. doing politics. Harper's universe – still unfolding as it should.

  12. Globe has good discussion on the timing differences in the flu shot.

    Back in the summer they decided to get all of the regular seasonal flu stuff done first. So that was in place, but this decision caused a production delay on the H1N1. Issue is timing of when the flu will start.

    Usually it starts Nov December, it may be starting earlier this year…there was no way to know….secondly there was no way to know that H1N1 would likely crowd out the seasonal flu and become dominant.

    Now the French had two factories available, and they ran one factory on seasonal and one on H1N1. We have one factory….hence the prod bottleneck. You could have done a little of seasonal and then cut to H1N1….might have given us earlier production by 3 to 4 weeks, so about now.

    Nonetheless, it was always going to be a race, please let us all know when you get your shot and if you get the flu before November 7th.

    And the American shots will require 2 shots not one, the one for general use.

    As for the politics, this all disapates in 3 to 4 weeks. So another issue will be required, you dont want to be seen counting on the tragedy.

  13. Actually, it was Goodale that I was suggesting was using it for partisan politics, not you.

  14. Actually, it was Goodale that I was suggesting was using it for partisan politics, not you.

    As for why the government took the approach it did, see Vince's post below.

  15. Actually, it was Goodale that I was suggesting was using it for partisan politics, not you.

    As for why the government took the approach it did, see Vince's pst below.

  16. Actually, it was Goodale that I was suggesting was using it for partisan politics, not you.

    As for why teh government took the approach it did, see Vince's pst below.

  17. Here's why the PM is taking a huge risk:

    http://www.ottawacitizen.com/health/Child+deaths+

    Vince may have it, but I'm not yet convinced. If indeed it was just manufacturing, then Harper could 'vaccinate' himself by saying that upfront rather than relying on the hand waving and weak explanations he's offered to date. So far, the PM's story implies the delay is by choice. Will come back to bite him big time if this goes badly.

    BTW, in the US it's only two shots for young kids, not the general population.

Sign in to comment.