House of Commons after dark -

House of Commons after dark


The Speaker has granted Carolyn Bennett’s request for an emergency debate on H1N1. That is due to begin in a few hours, after this evening’s votes, and could, conceivably, go until midnight.


House of Commons after dark

  1. I think I may have H1N1. According to the Globe and Mail's Q&A, anyone with flu-like symptoms likely has it, and I have. Not very sick, so crossing my fingers (and knocking wood) that it's just a mild case.

    My neighbours all had it last spring — they were also only mildly ill.

    In all of this, I have never once seen anyone on the news who had it and survived. No balance at all.

    Hallowe'en night, we had only 2 kids come trick or treating — the local news told parents to wipe their kids' hands between every house.

    Also — intrigue — the Regina Health Region has provided vaccines to all of its staff — not just front line workers, but HR, finance, admin people — ahead of the pregnant women, kids and seniors.

      • Thanks Sean, but this Swedish guy says that those who already had the flu "may" have an immunity to it, while the Globe and Mail says they do not need a vaccine because they are now immune.

        Sheesh, the more I read up on it — the less I know for sure.

        • The Globe is talking about the current strain of flu, which if you've had you cannot contract again.

          Coulombier was referring to the theory that older folks may have a pre existing immunity due to exposure to flu strains decades ago Which means that they may still be able to contract it, and should eventually get vaccinated as supplies allow.

    • I think it went through my family, though my wife came out unscathed. Immunity is a funny thing…she also has developed allergies so her immune system is hyperactive.

      My symptoms were really high fever, and a honkin' gianormous mass of dry mucuous at the back of my throat that I felt like I was choking on. And I couldn't get out of bed. I finally had to find ways to deal with it, and tried a xylitol nasal wash. After about 5 min, I hacked out a big blob of brownish yellow stuff, and I was fine (with the throat).

      It got better after a day or two (moved down into my chest though), then it came back, and so I was out another two days. I've had a lingering cough since.

      Apparently, the respiratory issues and the lingering cough are common.

      The argument for anybody working in health getting the vaccine first has a lot to do with routes of exposure. They have a higher chance of contracting it through work, rather than people who may spend less of their day in contact with the general population.

      The debate is worthwhile. The CPC has a lot to answer for this. It is one thing to basically lie about the state of the economy, and then continually change the story as it becomes apparent that the outcome is much worse, but it is another to try to pull the same BS when it comes to matters that can be potentially fatal to Canadians.

  2. At the risk of further exposing my dimwittedness, does anyone know *what* there is to be debated, at this point?

    • The opposition will express their concern & set fire to the drapes. The government will express their concern while trying – not very hard – to extinguish the drapes. We will pay for the new drapes.

      • Sadly, that is well put.

    • Presumably they're going to kick the whole shortfall and backlog in vaccine availability ball around

      • I don't think the Feds had word of shortages any sooner than the rest of us, from what I understand. Also, while I would like to have seen them take a greater leadership role, it sounds like Canada is among the best prepared nations in the world.

        I think health officials at many levels were racheting up the warnings to offset Setptember's apathy, which backfired when a few unfortunate children were killed by the flu, and apathy turned to panic (needlessly). (I'm not for a second diminishing the deaths, but the reality is that people die of the flu every year.)

        • The Liberals are saying on their website that the federal government could have ordered the vaccine in July instead of in August, or even as early as May.

          • See, my memory is that everyone was cool with the Conservative's plan to have all Canadians immunized by Christmas – the WHO, the opposition, everyone. I don't suppose that website cites any Liberals pushing for an order sooner, does it?

    • What questions? Here are some obvious questions for which the government has no good answers.

      Most countries ordered the vaccine in May, including the US and the UK, but the Conservative government waited until the end of summer. Why?

      Every major country had started immunizing citizens as early as 5 or 6 weeks ago. Why did Canada lag so far behind everyone else and only start administering the H1N1 vaccine on October 26?

      When exactly did the government actually place its order with GlaxoSmithKline?

      When did the government change its order for the adjuvanted version of the vaccine? How many weeks of delay did this last minute change cause?

      WHO recommended production of the H1N1 vaccine on July 7, but the Harper government waited until mid to late August. Why did the government delay in ordering the vaccine?

      WHO recommended unadjuvanted vaccines for pregnant women on July 7, but the Conservatives didn't order them until September 4. Why did they delay the order?

      • "Every major country had started immunizing citizens as early as 5 or 6 weeks ago."

        Maybe in minor numbers, but from my quickie research it looks like Britain and the USA have pretty much started up at the same time as Canada.


        • Here is the first hit on an easy google search:… Says California started October 8. I know China started in the third week of September.

          For quick starters.

          • Oct 8 is 3 weeks ago. And I can assure, the vaccinations in Canada will be more widespread than those in China.

          • I'm sure the Chinese have taken every precaution to make sure their vaccines are every bit as safe as their food and painted toys.

            Also, in addition to California only being three weeks ago, as scf noted, you need to research a bit more: many of the vaccines are in the form of nasal sprays – those have not yet been licensed for use in Canada.

    • Absolutely nothing. And I don't expect them to be manufacturing their own vaccines from their seats, either. A colossal waste of time, intended as an extended attack on the government.

      • Depending on the turnout, it is perhaps an unfortunate opportunity for the virus to be shared among close-quartered MPs.

        • lol, good point. They'll probably be sneezing in each other's direction before the night is over.

  3. "In all of this, I have never once seen anyone on the news who had it and survived. No balance at all."

    I drove home yesterday and didn't get into an accident. Yet some guy down the street wrapped his car around a telephone pole and got his picture in the paper. Lucky!

    • When I read the sentence you have highlighted, my first thought was 'does MJ Patchouli's local news station interview dead people'?

      • Just the friends and families of dead people. And photos of the dead, take while they were still alive.

        Yet I think many more people are surviving than dying, so why can't that be a message too? Too positive? Not enough fear mongering to it?

    • Yeah, well not quite the same thing, eh Mike, but why lose out on any opportunity to be a sarcastic arse? Still, I'm glad you survived your drive…

      • Thanks! In all seriousness, I hit a deer last week. Not fun.

        But there was point to my message, which is basically that "Yet I think many more people are surviving than dying" isn't going to get people's attention.

        • Strike one, Mike. That wee little info tidbit is a major part of the H1N1 story, and the failure to share this simple detail is a major FAIL on the part of Canada;s media.

          Although, in fairness, any major in-depth report has mentioned something close to that. Sadly, it was usually the flavour of "Canada's top doctor rushed to the microphones yesterday to try and make us believe that this flu bug isn't as bad as annual seasonal flu…"

  4. Gee, I wonder what they'll have to say that hasn't already been said… and said… and said… and said again.

    An emergency finger-pointing exercise. How edifying.

  5. What is there to debate. Are you for, or against, H1N1?

    Or are they going to debate the performance of bureaucracy because that would be nice. People who belong to private medical clinics get prompt service indoors while those relying on government get to wait hours outside in bad weather for shot, if they are lucky.

    • I *knew* you were a socialist, deep down. :)

      • I started life as a socialist and then everything changed after I read Parliament of Whores. I actually support a lot of NDP aims but believe they can achieved quicker and better through markets than government dictat.

    • Why'd you delete your previous comment?
      Now my response is there, answering to…nothing…hey I think that was a MIdge Ure song.

      • I deleted my comment because I thought it was rude. I believe you are Franco writing in English and I should not be making snarky comments about what you write.

        • Hope he/she or it's even ruder now!

  6. So the Liberals need extra time to complain about a bureaucracy that is mostly Liberal not doing a good enough job?

    I wonder what's next? Are the Liberals going to try and blame the Conservatives for the rate of production of the vaccine by the pharmaceutical companies?

    Maybe they can blame the Conservatives for not developing a cure!

    • The delivery of health care is a provincial responsibility. Are the federal parties going to debate how well or poorly health care is being managed in Toronto or Calgary? Why? Are they planning to introduce constitutional amendments that might give them jurisdiction over the issue?

      Oddly enough, given the generally appalling history of health care delivery by the federal government in those areas where it actually does have responsibility, it seems delivery of the vaccine to First Nations communities has been going well. Perhaps Mr. Ignatieff will congratulate the government on that accomplishment?

      • The vaccine orders are a federal responsibility and that is the biggest problem here.

        • Well, no, the primary complaints have been the organization of the delivery of the vaccine, and the communication of who should have priority. The federal government's responsibility was to approve a safe vaccine, which they did, and find a responsible company to manufacture it – which they also did.

          There may have been production delays by the manufacturer, which may or may not have been preventable. That might be worthy of investigation later, but there is no suggestion the federal government should have awarded the contract to anyone else (Smith Kline already had the standing contract for flu vaccine) or that there was anything the federal government itself could have done to speed up manufacture.

          • The primary complaint is that there is not enough vaccine to go around. That was a federal government responsibility.

            Many countries, like the US and the UK, had placed orders in May. Harper did not order the vaccine until August.

            Many countries used multiple suppliers, like the US which used 5 different companies. Harper placed all of his orders with a single supplier.

            Most countries ordered the unadjuvanted version of the vaccine because it was quicker and had been tested on pregnant women. Harper decided to go with the adjuvanted because he claimed it was equally safe for pregnant women. Fine. Perhaps he has information the rest of the world doesn't. But if that was the case, then why did he stop the order for the adjuvanted vaccine and ask GSK to provide the unadjuvanted vaccine, thereby further delaying the vaccine.

            One thing is for certain: we can thank our lucky stars that this virus, while scarier than the regular flu viruses, is not a SARS type virus or worse. With this level of mismanagement, in a real bad pandemic or worse an epidemic a lot of people would be dead right now.

          • No one has enough vaccine right now to inoclulate everyone – even if the health care system could arrange for enough clinics for all 34 million of us to be inoculated at once. In fact, Canada's roll out of vaccinations is as far along, or farther, than that of the Americans. There does not seem to have been any appreciable delay caused by government indecision – rather it is the nature of this vaccine that it takes a long time to grow. There is only so much that can be done to produce it, and it should be noted that at least 6 million doses have been distributed so far.

            The issue of adjuvanted versus unadjuvanted seems to be a medical decision, not a political one. The government relied on the advice that seemed correct, that adjuvantd vaccine was safe and more effective than unadjuvanted – so that is what the governmetn ordered – I think your belief that it is slower to produce is simply wrong – its the other way round. The opinion was also that unadjuvanted vaccine might be safer for pregnant women – so that was ordered as well – a sensible step given the medical advice.

          • I don't think he intends to be honest, or to make sense, he is just looking for a club to use to whack the government.

  7. I think the LPT ought to be ashamed of itself. There are certain places civilized people ought not to go. Body bags, wafers and mass vaccinations are 3 of them!

    • I generally think the Conservatives have done a reasonable job. That said, it would have been useful for Harper to grab five minutes of network time last week and address the nation – calm fears, explain why we should wait our turn until the priority groups have the vaccination, and generally reassure folks. I may oppose them in general, but they are our goverment, and the Prime Minister would have my full support were he to step forward as the leader of all Canadians.

      • I dont think we needed 5 minutes of time from the PM on national TV, this isnt that kind of a crisis. But a debate is welcome to let all sides air their part of the debate.

        I dont know how helpful it will be, but debate away.

        • Depends on the nature of the debate. If the opposition fans the flames of fear too much, I won't be pleased. At the same time, if the government turns this into yet another predictable session of partisan nonsense, I'll be equally cheesed off.

          • There are many very legitimate questions about their handling of this that need to be asked and ought to be asked, but the government refuses to take seriously like the debacle last week when they tried to prevent Bennett from asking about the official government position on which vaccine pregnant women should take.

            But more importantly, they bungled a lot of things on this so far. Thank goodness we had 6 months warning and the virus wasn't worse or there would be even more deaths. We need to be better prepared than the Conservatives are.

            Blaming parents, blaming the supplier, blaming the provinces, blaming the media and the Liberals is not good governance.

          • 6 months warning? What the heck are you talking about? Warning for what? I was gonna say you're such a broken record, but even a broken record makes sense.

          • Agreed. Nor is playing into the hysterical and unfounded fears of parents and pregnant women. There is a way to hold the government to account without shamelessly exploiting panic (and quite possibly helping to feed it, in the process).

            Where was the opposition fury in April, May and June? In fact, where was it up until that poor 13 year old boy died of the flu and there were suddenly waves of fear throughout a population who was largely apathetic to swine flu the day before?

          • Sean, when the debate was called for earlier today, the "partisan nonsense" was pretty much guaranteed, no?

            Not that, at this time, I am actually paying any attention to the *cough* debate. So boy will egg be on my face if it turns out that all opposition parties are currently congratulating Minister Aglukkaq, the federal public health people, and the Conservatives in general.

            Thanks, but I am pretty sure there will be no need to ship damp face cloths my way…

      • I don't agree, since health is a provincial responsibility, I would expect each province to decide how to educate and reach their citizens, which may vary from one region to another. I don't expect to see the PM on TV to simply parrot and repeat the exact same thing you can hear from your local public health official or family doctor.

  8. Thanks, sorry — not only do you find it for me, but you have to explain it to me.

    I'm sick. That's my story and I"m sticking to it!

    Are you getting vaccinated?

    • No worries!

      Two out three kids in our house are down with it right now (Well, the first is back to school after being off for a week, and the second is bedridden today).

      We don't normally get the seasonal flu shot. I trust the safety of any one dose, but I'm not crazy about joining a massive experiment to find out what getting shots for twenty or forty years in row might do. That said, I think the risks are real enough that those of us in the house who do not contract it will get the vaccine. Not so much out of fear for our own lives, but certainly to help stop the spread to the more fragile.

      Take care of yourself! Chicken soup, tea with lemon and honey, lots of rest, and most importantly: ignore the headlines!

      • Supposedly they're saying that having the flu can do damage twenty or fourty years down the road.

        The inflammation from a bad flu can lead to things like heart attacks later on in life.

        So its a damned if you do, damned if you don't.

        I had the shot on Oct. 30th and i'm fine, for what its worth.

  9. […cont.]
    The federal government's slowness to act on this recommendation means that production of adjuvanted vaccines had to be halted this week to switch product lines, resulting in lower shipments of vaccine to Canadians.

    If the government believes that the adjuvanted and the unadjuvanted versions are equally safe for pregnant women, why did the government feel the need to change its order and delay delivery?

    The US placed orders with no less than 5 suppliers. Novartis, for example, was already filling orders with 25 countries by July. Why did the Conservatives place their order with only one supplier?

  10. […cont.]

    Yesterday, Minister Aglukkaq said that "panicked parents" are to blame for the vaccine shortfall. Does the Minister really think that parents are at fault for worrying about their health and lives of their children?

    The government has said that "panicked parents" were to blame for the shortfall, that GlaxoSmithKline is to blame for the shortfall, that the provincial delivery of healthcare services is the cause. Will this government take any responsibility for the delivery shortfall? Does the Minister think the federal government has done nothing wrong at all? Can the Minister please clarify these conflicting statements of passing the buck?

  11. This is what you get when you make healthcare a low government priority. When you cut a $400 million annual public budget down to $80 million. When you are more concerned about spending $100 million on self-promotion than getting your act together on public health. When you believe as an ideology that the federal government doesn't have a role in Canadians' day to day lives. When you don't learn the lessons of the deaths from SARS and listeriosis.

  12. Mr. Speaker I have a perfectly reasonable and fair and honest question to ask = why are the miserable lowlife scum sucking baby killing conservatives not answering our questions!

  13. Conservative trolls are trying to ruin yet another discussion.

  14. Conservative trolls are trying to ruin yet another discussion.

    • Yes, but that's what they're paid to do. At least they're getting minimum wage. Leona is getting 250,000 and Dean Del Mastro is getting 150,000, and they can actually ruin people's lives. Trolls can only ruin your dinner. So be thankful for that.

  15. There's something about Harper in that almost everything he touches, turns to garbage. Call it a reverse midas touch.

    It's quite amazing. Like George Bush.

    Some guys just have a knack for this kind of thing, I guess.

    • Delivery of a major fraction of the order in advance = garbage.


    • Hmmm, when was Smith Glaxo Kline awarded the contract to make vaccines in case of a pandemic? 2001.
      Were they given a monopoly? Yes.
      Who was in office when that was done?

      I don't mean to suggest, of course, that they have breached their contract. It would have been nice if everyone had been prescient and been able to produce 34 million doses of a difficult to manufacture vaccine in a weekend. Since neither the Canadian nor any other manufacturers have been able to do so, perhaps the rhetoric on this is a bit overblown don't you think? Sometimes difficult challenges, like responding to a flu outbreak, are just a bit more challenging to deal with than saying "fix it".

      And, of course, its not the federal government managing flu clinics.

    • Honestly, and wven worse is that moron ignatio. He's a Richard Nixon clone if ever there was one.