The Commons: Swallow this impressive-sounding number and call your doctor in the morning -

The Commons: Swallow this impressive-sounding number and call your doctor in the morning

Read Tony Clement’s lips: “six million doses”


tc2The Scene. The Prime Minister’s chair, as an inanimate object, was unlikely to answer. But Michael Ignatieff insisted on asking anyway.

“Mr. Speaker, today we learn from the Auditor General that, for its entire time in office, the government has failed to develop any national emergency preparedness plan. That includes planning for epidemics and pandemics like H1N1. Does that not begin to explain why the government’s response to this crisis has been so slow and confused?” he wondered aloud. “We have heard from the Minister of Health. When will we begin to hear from the Prime Minister? When will he stand up, take responsibility for the government’s mistakes and correct the situation?”

The Prime Minister was otherwise engaged with escorting the Prince and Camilla around rural Newfoundland. John Baird, Mr. Harper’s de facto deputy, was away as well, while the Health Minister was in Vancouver. No worries though, because this seemed to be a question about emergency preparedness and that is distinctly the purview of the Public Safety Minister and that minister, the typically unshy Peter Van Loan, was most certainly in his seat.

And yet, here came Tony Clement, the Minister of Industry and master flailler of arms.

“Mr. Speaker, let me dwell in the realm of facts,” Mr. Clement boldly offered. “The fact of the matter is that there have been six million doses of H1N1 vaccine that have already been delivered to the provinces and territories.

“That’s what you said yesterday!” lamented a Liberal.

“We currently have more H1N1 vaccine per capita than any other country in the world,” Mr. Clement reviewed. “The vaccine is being distributed as quickly as it is being produced and there will be sufficient H1N1 vaccine available in Canada for everyone who in fact needs or wants to be immunized.”

“Merry Christmas!” chirped a Liberal, yesterday’s points and counterpoints now sufficiently covered.

Michael Ignatieff returned to his feet, generally unpersuaded. “Mr. Speaker, if there is all this vaccine about, why are there eight-hour lines?” he asked. “Nobody can understand the gap between what the minister is saying and what Canadians are actually experiencing.”

Back to Clement, tending as he generally does to turn toward the sympathetic and supportive faces of his own caucus to plead his case. “As I said,” he said, “over six million doses have been distributed to date.”

Mr. Ignatieff tried once more, this time in French. Tony Clement took the opportunity to do likewise. “Monsieur le Président,” il dit, “la réalité est que six millions de doses de vaccins sont maintenant envoyées aux provinces et aux territoires.”

He switched back to English for a parting expression of disappointment. “I hope that the honourable member is not trying to politicize the issue,” Mr. Clement moaned, “because that would surely be beneath him.”

This drew groans from the opposition side.

Kirsty Duncan stood next for the Liberals and presented the Minister with a series of questions—”Where is the Prime Minister on this issue? Why has the Prime Minister not spoken directly to Canadians to reduce their anxiety, confusion and mounting frustration? Why has he not made available the $400 million from budget 2006 for pandemic response? How did the Conservative government get it so wrong?”—that momentarily distracted Mr. Clement from his impressive-sounding number. By the time Jack Layton had picked up the line of inquiry, the Minister had steadied himself.

“Six million doses thus far,” he sang.

Bernard Patry stood and wondered why the government had chosen to rely on a single supplier for its H1N1 vaccine.

“Monsieur le Président, la réalité, encore une fois, est que six millions de doses du vaccins contre la grippe H1N1 ont déjà été envoyées aux provinces et aux territoires,” the Industry Minister offered before assigning blame for the situation on the previous government.

Carolyn Bennett gave it a try on the same point.

“Six million doses have been distributed to date,” Mr. Clement reported.

Ms. Bennett returned to Ms. Duncan’s point about $400 million in budgeted pandemic assistance not spent.

“We have allowed to be distributed six million doses,” Mr. Clement revealed.

Brian Murphy wondered why the government had spent so much more money advertising its economic efforts than educating the population about H1N1.

“Monsieur le Président,” Mr. Clement informed, “encore une fois, à travers le Canada, six millions de doses de vaccins contre la grippe H1N1 ont maintenant été envoyées aux provinces et aux territoires.”

Mr. Murphy was demonstrably unimpressed, loudly and indignantly wondering what he should tell a constituent who has been unable to get his young children vaccinated.

“Mr. Speaker,” recommended Mr. Clement, “I would encourage the honourable member and honourable members opposite to speak about the realities like six million doses already being distributed.”

The follow-up question from Wayne Easter—”Mr. Speaker, how could that minister be so pompous?”—was sufficiently unanswerable. So too was a question posed later to Mr. Van Loan by the NDP’s Judy Wasylycia-Leis. “Why,” she wondered, “can the government not get its act together?”

After the Public Safety Minister had dismissed that, the NDP member tried once more, prompting the return of Mr. Clement.

“Mr. Speaker, what Canadians care about is the availability of the vaccine,” he ventured. “Six million doses have already been distributed throughout the country, through the provinces and territories, and that is enough vaccine for all of the priority groups. That is more per capita than any other country in the world. But we are not resting on our laurels. We continue to distribute the vaccine as it is produced. That is our role and responsibility, along with the provinces and territories. We are working with the public health officials. That is what people expect of us and that is what we are doing.”

Though perhaps you heard him the first dozen times.

The Stats. H1N1, 20 questions. Employment, six questions. The federal deficit, taxation, the environment and immigration, two questions each. Credit cards and the Parliamentary Budget Officer, one question each.

Tony Clement, 18 answers. Jason Kenney, four answers. Jean-Pierre Blackburn and Peter Van Loan, three answers. Christian Paradis and Jim Prentice, two answers each. James Moore, Ed Komarnicki, Jim Flaherty and Pierre Poilievre, one answer each.


The Commons: Swallow this impressive-sounding number and call your doctor in the morning

  1. “Six million doses have been distributed to date,” Mr. Clement reported.

    Mostly to Conservative ridings I bet.

    • Yeah, sure. Outside of Alberta which provincial health minister is a conservative?

      • Saskatchewan for one. The BC gov't is sometimes conservative, depending on what your definition of 'is' is…

        • And Danny is also conservative.

  2. Get that message out!

  3. OMG Robert that is a very degrading thing to say. Just like Liberals complain about everything. I guess if people died in Conservative ridings its not that big a deal?

    • Robert is so not a Liberal.

  4. These pieces are so good. I think what I enjoy most about them is knowing that there's at least one sane person in the House on any given day. I like the way that the treatment of certain absurdities, like the habit of asking questions to an absent Prime Minister, are developed from episode to episode.

    • I've gushed before, but they really are brilliant.

      • "I am" I said, to no one there, and no one heard at all not even the chair. Neil Diamond.

  5. "The Prime Minister's chair, as an inanimate object, was unlikely to answer. But Michael Ignatieff insisted on asking anyway."

    Wherry Do you ever wonder about value for money (your taxes) when you watch these dim bulbs?

    And I hope Cons choke on their comments about the health care system and how wonderful it is performing.

    • "Do you ever wonder about value for money (your taxes) when you watch these dim bulbs?"

      Yup. You wonder how they can look at themselves in the mirror at the end of the day. How they find any satisfaction in this miserable charade.

  6. Six million doses? Are we supposed to applaud them for aiming so low? There are 33 million Canadians!

    They should have anticipated that at least double that would want this vaccine, considering the rampant hysteria that kept people glued to swine flu information all spring and early summer. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that there is a great deal of public concern, although it could possibly take some market research (again, not exactly genius…) This whole campaign has been a disaster from the planning to the public relations stages (the public seems exceptionally uninformed about when and where to get vaccines.)

    As for my family, two of came down with flu yesterday and today, after trying and failing to get vaccinated last week in Vancouver. Thanks to the generosity of the feds, BC will get enough vaccine for approximately 20% of the population and that hasn't even been delivered, which means 80% of the population can go drink soup and suck it up. Needless to say, this will be fantastic for productivity. Of my family members who are sick, one of us is at high risk so we are worried, but everything seems OK so far. Fortunately, it's early in the flu season yet and they haven't run out of Tamiflu at the pharmacy. I certainly hope there are more than 6 million doses in the country for that.

    • Agreed!!!! Why should we be impressed about 6 million?

      • Why shouldn't you be? Considering that a rush to put out an unsafe vaccine could harm more people than it's trying to protect, I'm glad that our government hasn't been hasty just for the sake of political expedience. The opposition parties displayed no problems with this time schedule two months ago, and it's a matter of record that Health Canada has actually received and distributed the first shipments ahead of schedule. Stef, our government did anticipate more than 33 million doses, in addition to supplying Canadians the government has indicated that they would try to supply some third-world courntries with vaccine shipments.

        • Considering that a rush to put out an unsafe vaccine could harm more people than it's trying to protect, I'm glad that our government hasn't been hasty just for the sake of political expedience.

          Err…sorry to burst your bubble, but the early rollout of the vaccine was made precisely because of political expediency:


          Pauline Tam, Ottawa Citizen: Monday, October 26, 2009

          OTTAWA — Health Canada approved this country's H1N1 vaccine without evaluating its safety and effectiveness on a single Canadian, the Ottawa Citizen has learned.

          Instead, the federal drug regulator approved the pandemic vaccine based on the results of a small clinical trial in Belgium.


          Let's just hope that the actions of these bozos doesn't lead to any long-term health problems.

          • It ws tested in other countries, on human beings, just like you.

          • Lot to lot variability requires testing of each batch of vaccine produced. It is irrelevant to compare across batches, willy.

            Odds are that it is fine. But don't try to excuse this fast-tracking of the approval process for the sake of political expediency.

    • Millions of Canadians have already had the flu Stef, not many of those stories get into the newscycle.
      53 million doses of Tamilfu have been distributed, enough for everyone.

      The vaccination would not have been effective anyways, as 2 weeks is needed for protection.
      Let us know how you make out.

    • You do realize that the vaccine does not start working for at least two weeks don't you? So getting it last week would have done nothing for you.

  7. The question is why is demand so much greater than present supply? If the govt’s defense is we didn’t expect all these non priority people to come forward all at once, it’s unreasonable to expect us to meet such demand all at once. Then why oh why was just about every health professional bar the cleaning staff until recently all over the media begging us to all get our shots, when it looked like we mostly wouldn’t? Unlike many here i’m not a total news junkie so maybe i missed something. But didn’t someone help to create all this demand/ near panic?

    • 'The question is why is demand so much greater than present supply?'

      It isn't. The Provinces have not administered all of their current supply,
      it was a free for all (with staff shortages) until this weeks supply was cut to 20%,
      the the provinces had to vaccinate at risk first.

      Alberta got 700k doses, and had 300k left when they shut down clinics.

      • Don’t be a partisan prat all of your life Wilson. I realise not everything was within the govt’s control. But someone screwed up big time in so botching the message – even if we allow for the usual culprits in a panic – the media. The varous govts – prov & fed were caught off guard by the demand. The buck has to stop somewhere…it just never seems to stop with SH.

  8. Iggy is so stuck on stupid he's asking questions of chairs.

    How very Liberal of him to try and make cheap political hay over the health of Canadians.

    I'd expect it from Layton/Dippers – but I thought the Liberals were above such cheap and transparent political desperation.

    Must bey Iggy listening to Kinsella's War Room advice again.

    Bad move Iggy.

    • …"he's asking questions of chairs"

      I noticed that Ignatieff asked the questions to th ePM's chair in both English and French. Perhaps he thought the chair didn't reply the first time because it couldn't understand both of Canada's official languages.

      Which does beg the question. What language do chairs speak?

      • The Ottoman's a young Turk.

      • speaking of stupid Barry, TwoYen. In Parliament you cannot refer to a Member's absence. So despite the PM's absence Ignatieff has to ask the question of the Prime Minister if he wants the PM's appointed (for the day) representative to answer on behalf of our Conservative Party.

        Civics much?

        • Yeah, that's really top of the agenda in every Grade 10 civics class, Ed.

    • im sure if it had responded it would have said “Six million doses have been distributed to date,”

      • But how can you really know for sure whether you are speaking to a Conservative chair or a Conservative cabinet minister?

        • When the Prime Minister was turning a nuclear safety issue into a 'fear-and-death' scenario so as to engage in some privatizing subterfuge with Canada's public nuclear body, were you decrying him for 'politicizing an issue'? I'd dare say, he used it extremely well, cowing the opposition to go against their better judgement. And how did that turn out? Harper's bluff ended up resulting in Chalk River break down that continues today. Oh, but by then people weren't worried about cancer etc. Harper has an answer for everything — when he isn't running from every hot issue under the sun. I guess that's why God gave him lap dogs…

        • Doesn't it have a big Conservative logo painted on it? Whereas the ministers' logos are tattooed on.

  9. A minister of the Crown, Tony Clement, who can't move beyond his lame response script after two questions shows how intellectually bankrupt this Harper government cabinet has become.

    Does this "six million doses" man really think that Canadians are stupid enough to swallow his claptrap for more than a nano-second. He looked like an old-fashion windmill, a a new oversized suit, out of control.
    Why can't this government simply admit that it screwed up big time. It ordered GlaxoSmithKline to produce the seasonal flu vaccine first and then only ordered the swine flu vaccine on August 6th. The Chief Medical Officer of Canada then told the provincial health ministers to inform the doctors not to give the seasonal flu vaccine until people have received the Swine flu vaccine. What is the logic in this.
    Had the swine flu vaccine been ordered in July, Canadians would have been vaccinated before the swine flu arrived. Of course, this would have made sense, but then it seems like common sense went out the window. The UK and Japan have had no problems with flu supply or their roll-outs of the vaccine. It all comes down to Harper's hands off attitude and policies when it comes to health care. His sheep-like Cabinet members keep repeating that health care is an exclusive provincial jurisdiction. For Harper's Conservatives the federal government has no say in how the provinces deliver the vaccine, that is, if and when it arrives.
    Every citizen of Canada has the constitutional right to be treated equally when it comes to health matters – there should not be a hierarchy of citizenship whereby some citizens get better service while others do not. Ottawa does have a roll to play in all national programs of health care since diseases do not respect provincial boundaries.
    Harper is a strong believer in individual rights and should understand that the health of each and every citizen comes first. Provincial rights should not be allowed to trump individual rights.
    The Conservatives complain that the opposition parties are playing politics with health care! In fact, it is the Conservatives who have been playing politics with the health of Canadians since the moment they took office in 2006.

    • The UK and Japan have had no problems with flu supply or their roll-outs of the vaccine.

      Actually, they have. In fact, as Andrew Coyne pointed out on his blog today, other countries like the US and Germany have their own problems with the vaccine, not too unlike Canada's problems.

      But since you brought up the UK, let's run with that example:

      According to the Guardian, "The first batch of swine flu vaccine has arrived in the UK, but it must sit in storage for more than a month while the manufacturers wait to see whether it will be given a licence."

      The Liberals complained that the UK ordered their vaccines well before Canada, but they failed to point out that it was only rolled out recently, because the government hadn't approved it yet. It would seem like a backwards approach: Order the drug, then test and approve it? I'd much prefer the Canadian approach: Test it, approve it, then order it.

      But cherry-picking facts is much more fun. Just ignore this inconvenient fact, as well as other problems with supply around the world, and focus on the stuff that makes the Tories look bad. Because that's probably what you meant when you said they are playing politics. You certainly aren't. Right?

      And Japan? Just do a simple Google search. This is what I found: "Japanese manufacturers began producing vaccine for the new flu in late July, but the ministry estimates that doses for only 13 million to 17 million people will be available by the end of the year."

      Wow. And we're already at 6 million doses. That's about half of Japan's total estimated supply for this year secured in only a few weeks. I'd say that's a job well done, compared to your examples.

    • (note that I typed a response, but it seems to have vanished into a cyber black hole… I'll summarise my response below, from what I can remember…)

      The UK and Japan have had no problems with flu supply or their roll-outs of the vaccine.

      The Liberals like to complain that many other countries ordered the vaccine months ago, but they ignore convenient facts like this one in the Guardian: "The first batch of swine flu vaccine has arrived in the UK, but it must sit in storage for more than a month while the manufacturers wait to see whether it will be given a licence… the vaccine has been delivered ahead of the drugs being approved, in contrast to the normal process for new drugs and treatments."

      So they ordered the drug first, then approved it? I much prefer the Canadian approach: Approve, then order.

      Also, from the Japan Times: "Japanese manufacturers began producing vaccine for the new flu in late July, but the ministry estimates that doses for only 13 million to 17 million people will be available by the end of the year." Considering we're already at 6 million doses, about half of Japan's total estimate for this year in only a few weeks, I'd say we're ahead of the curve.

      Coupled with Andrew Coyne's examples on his blog post today, I'd say we're doing pretty well, relatively speaking.

      Cherry-picking facts is fun, but it's also "playing politics," something which you apparently despise and yet also practise.

  10. There was a very good question in there, among many:

    Where is Stephen Harper in all this? He has skipped out on QP for over a week. Has he made one public statement since this outbreak? When there is such confusion and conflicting messages and such worry, isn't it the PM job to show leadership and speak directly and clearly to all Canadians?

    Where is the Prime Minister?

    • Why does the Prime Minister need to be the pointperson on this file? The mesages seem to be getting out without him. Having him deliver a national TV speech would only raise the level of hysteria and contribute little new information..

      • Who's talking about pointperson.

        He's been completely silent and isn't even showing up in QP.

        I'd call that an abdication of responsibility.

        Has he said a thing about H1N1 in the last two weeks???

        That is leadership????

        • This isn't the US, we don't do it like that here.

          How many times did Chretien address the nation, when sars hit?
          A PM is not a health expert.

          • How about Harper just stepping forward and showing people that he is willing to get the damn needle. What a headcase, never mind a so-called leader. Is this guy's psychic dressing him in kleenex box shoes yet or what?

          • What a great photo op that would be for him. It would also do wonders for the nervous country. People are afraid they aren't going to get the shot, and the ones who aren't, are afraid of the shot. It would be a lovely 'Keep calm and carry on" type message.

          • It's so funny how the demonized Chretien is a Conservatives benchmark for everything!

            In this case it doesn't even make sense though.

            SARS was not a national crisis. Certainly Ernie Eves commented as did the mayor. They left the daily briefings to the medical officers but their leadership in speaking out went very far in calming the panic for a disease that was much worse than H1N1.

    • Enlighten us Ted. What could the Prime Minister say that would satisfy you, besides the obvious "I Quit"?

    • Do you people live in a box? PM Stephen Harper is doing his duty, escorting the Prince and his wife around Newfoundland. I'd venture to say that if he wasn't doing that, you'd all have something else to complain about! Good god, what a bunch of babies! I'm quite sure he has contact with his MP's and staff and is on top of things.

      • And then PMSH goes overseas.
        So another 3 weeks of non-QP bliss for him,
        where people are not screaming and accusing him of being responsible for flu deaths.

      • Right. He's busy, we get that. Yet with today's new fan dangle technology, one can send a tee vee message from just about anywhere.

  11. And yet with all of the mudslinging(cheques, wafers, vaccine) the Liberals continue their steep descent into political oblivion, soon to be called "da turd' or perhaps "da fart pardi", Don'tnolo hasn't got a chance to turn anything around when all he has to work with are a bunch of deranged lunatics such as Hedy Fry, Carolyn Bennett and Professor Puffin.

    The Bloc Torontois Champaigne Sipping Socialist Elites have the bilge pumps running the wrong way, filling a sinking ship with more and more water, yet they are way too arrogant to see the folly of their ways. Looks good on them…………………..

    • Bodybag Bob is the worst.

    • I know your desperately trying to change the channel. Yet the name calling is still beneath you.

      • And yet no comment on what Carolynn Bennet said two months ago?

        Right, the Liberals are so desperately trying to change the channel from their tanking polling numbers and sagging donations that they would be so low so as to politicize this, so called, pandemic…………………a truly pathetic and narcissistic display by a party that has absolutely no ethics or morals.

        How's this for a different channel Douglass/

        I'd like to see the Auditor General examine the, so called, Private Foundations($9 Billion Taxpayer Dollars) and the $162 Million Taxpayer Dollars that went to CSL while Paul Martin was Finance Minister.

        • There is politics on all sides of this. Its lunacy to try and deny it. It was simply the language I took issue with. You spoke of Liberal mudslinging, and then took to name calling and poop references. Now while potty humor is always amusing, it was quite a contradiction, dont cha think.

          • "da turd pardi" is an expression that Chretien liked to use quite frequently in the HoC, but I guess being the typical Liberal you wouldn't remember that or the fact that the Liberals under Chretien signed that ten year deal($300,000,000+) with GSK for vaccine then promptly received a donation of some $56,000 dollars from the same company.

  12. From Sandy at Crux of the Matter;

    What Liberal MP Carolyn Bennett said 2 months ago re H1N1 vaccine
    3 11 2009

    What a difference two short months can make. Read what Norma Greenaway of Canwest News Service wrote two short months ago on August 31, 2009 regarding the likelihood that Canada would have a surplus of H1N1 vaccine. Note particularly what MP and Dr. Carolyn Bennett said at that time.

    “Asked directly whether Canada is prepared to donate any surplus vaccine, the Conservative government – which has purchased 50.4 million doses of the H1N1 vaccine for Canadians from GlaxoSmithKline – ruled nothing in or out….

    [Francoise] Baylis [a bioethicist at Dalhousie University in Halifax] said Canada's 50 million doses should be more than enough to handle the number of people who want and need the vaccine. Assuming two doses of vaccine are needed per person, there is enough for 75 per cent of Canada's 35 million people.

    The expectation at this point is that only about 60 per cent of the population will want to be vaccinated, she said, meaning a surplus is likely.

    Liberals and New Democrats say they're prepared to push the government to step up to the plate.

    ‘Canadians have long understood that on this tiny planet we're only as safe as the whole planet,' said Liberal MP Carolyn Bennett, the party's health critic.

    Bennett said Canadian authorities should know by Christmas how much vaccine will be needed, and whether people should have one or two doses.”

  13. I'm depressed. Our politicians all (Left or Right) appear to be a bunch of morons. This H1N1 thing could have been handled better. When I voted for Harper the first time, I thought he would grow into the PMO and represent all Canadians. After all, he was touting senate reform where most people didn't see the importance of it (what a legacy that would have been). He's proved to be as provincial as an Alberta conservative and as spiteful as a Liberal prime minister in a majority government. H1N1 shows — again — that Harper is less about helping all Canadians and more about power and spite.

  14. You're depressed because you're a Liberal trying to pass yourself off as having voted Conservative………………..very, very lame. Senate reform will happen even with the futile attempts by the Liberal Senate members to continuously hold up important legislation. THe LPoC is a shambles, just recite Humpty Dumpty to yourself Gfield………………………………

  15. New Zealnd just cmae thru the Flu season without any H1N1 vaccine as it had yet to be develped. The doctors would not allow suspected swine flu patients into their clinics and were throwing Tamilflu to their patients in the parking lots.
    Canadians often forget how good we really have it.

  16. Its been, oh, a week into the rollout of the biggest medical intervention in Canadian history. A little early to panic.

  17. CTV News is reporting that the 10-year contract with the vaccine supplier was signed by PM Chretien and the company turned around and donated $56,000 to the Liberal Party in return. Hmm…I wonder if the Liberals will now stop asking questions about the contract?

    • When was this contract? I suspect if you could be bothered to dig a little further you would find the company also donated money to the conservatives. Betting on all the horses was common practise pror to funding reforms, brought in by who? Yes the PM you’re smearing.

      • There was no mention of money going to the Conservatives, just the large donation to the Liberals. The contract states that any vaccines ordered must only be made and purchased from the contract company. The government can not go elsewhere. Perhaps that is the reason why we're getting smaller does in increments. Funny how you never hear about these things from the Liberals.

        • I would suggest you read this article in the Star. "Butler-Jones said the terms of the contract with GlaxoSmithKline, which Public Works said could only be obtained through a request under the Access to Information and Privacy Act, does not prohibit Canada from purchasing vaccine from another supplier – as it did when it bought 200,000 doses of adjuvant-free vaccine from Australia for pregnant women last week – but he said there are no plans to do that for the regular version because there is no global excess of vaccine and he expects shipments to ramp up next week.

          It is also notes why the Liberal government contracted with GlaxoSmithKline. But, then facts get in the way when it comes to this government's spin.

        • I would suggest you read this article in the Star. "Butler-Jones said the terms of the contract with GlaxoSmithKline, which Public Works said could only be obtained through a request under the Access to Information and Privacy Act, does not prohibit Canada from purchasing vaccine from another supplier – as it did when it bought 200,000 doses of adjuvant-free vaccine from Australia for pregnant women last week – but he said there are no plans to do that for the regular version because there is no global excess of vaccine and he expects shipments to ramp up next week.

          It is also notes why the Liberal government contracted with GlaxoSmithKline. But, then facts get in the way when it comes to this government's spin.

          • and didn't the Cons renew the same contract in 2007?

          • The sole source part of the original contract could not be changed, nice try Con Ed or would you have preferred that the GSK contract was unilaterally torn up by the government like Chretien did with the helicopter contract that cost taxpayers $500 Million in cancellation fees?

      • Bet that if GSK had donated to the Alliance, CBC would have been all over it.
        Besides, that donation was legal, and was not stuffed in a big brown envelope, so relax.

  18. Amazing, isn't it? Couldn't make Stephen Harper wear the blame for a worldwide recession, so let's try a flu pandemic! It's a good thing that most people are capable of thinking.

    • Who blamed him for a worldwide recession or for this pandemic?

      Although, interesting that you should raise it. There are similarities: deny there is a problem, run for cover, blame everyone else, demonstrate over and over how unprepared you were and how poor a planner you are.

      Thank god we had 6 months warning about this pandemic. Thank god it wasn't a full blown epidemic with this bunch in charge. God, I can't imagine how bad it would be if we had a really serious crisis to face. Even the AG gives him a failing grade on preparedness.

    • Didn't they try to balme the escalating casualties in Afghanistan on PMSH too? Until the Manley report.

      But after PMSH secured Lib support for the mission,
      they have not co-operated ever since.
      'Harper gets to wear this recession'
      This is the same tactic with the flu.

      Much to Liberal disappointment,
      PMSH brought our brave military out of the 'Decade of Darkness',
      brought Canada thru the worst recession since WWII in better shape than other countries,
      and Canada is number 1 in the world, in H1N1 vaccination distribution………

      • Shorter Wilson ; Harper deserves all the credit, as for the blame, everyone else can where that. A Pm’s job is to be completely accountable – except in your hyper partisan world.

  19. Tory war room has obviously swung into action I see to try and cover their asses one more time with a drive by smear job. No action just slurs……the tory party of Canada

  20. I think I've found the answer:

    they identify as a fundamental cause of the problem the fact that the government purchases 55% of the childhood vaccine market at forced discount prices. The result has been "declining financial incentives to develop and produce vaccines."

    … the government agreed to purchase a third of the national vaccine supply… at a forced discount of half price, then distribute it to doctors to deliver to the poor and the un- and under-insured.

    This is via the Small Dead Animals blog. Before this there were 25 companies producing vaccines, now there are 5.

  21. While I'm not a fan of the sole sourcing of the vaccine from a UK company that has a manufacturing plant in Quebec (and some patent issues, but that's for another day), I think that all the parties are politicising this issue. Maybe they have no choice — the House has to seem to be doing something given the general public doesn't understand the concept of rolling out the vaccine. Lots of waiving of hands on the hill might mean that it becomes possible to magically give the vaccine to all Canadians at the same time.

    Note: If the government were actually pushing for this faster, the questions in the house would be about the safety given the health system is riding this wave and making decisions quickly. It's not like anyone was waiting around doing nothing during this process…

  22. A lot of this hysteria is simply unjustified. The swine flu has a similar death rate to seasonal flu (, and we are far more likely to catch the latter. I would bet most doctors wish people got this excited about flu shots.

    • Link doesn't work.

      But the statement is misleading.

      First, there is no "seasonal flu virus", there is not one but many flu bugs out there. If you took all of the flu bugs and added up all of the deaths, then you might be correct that all deaths from all other flu viruses is greater than H1N1. But we don't know that. It is the beginning of November and already almost a hundred Canadian deaths and about 6000 worldwide.

      Second, almost all "seasonal flu" viruses kill people with an underlying health weakness. H1N1 is killing healthy kids with no underlying health weakness, three and possibly four in the last week alone. I say that not to raise the panic level but to attempt to destroy the dangerous complacency that could arise if we were to take your and the government's position on this.

  23. Some of what Iggy is trying to do makes sense, which is to make Harper's government wear all and any shortcomings of any government, be it federal, provincial or municipal. He wants the people who are impatiently lining up for their vaccines to be blaming Harper. Every time a death can be ascribed to H1N1, he wants this to somehow connected to Harper.

    It is of course an intellectually bankrupt way to proceed, but politically may have some positive results.

    As far as the vaccination goes, the current cock-up is a failure of our local health agencies (regional and provincial) to plan and manage.

    As for the disaster planning, the experience in the States should give us some pause for thought. FEMA was a positive hindrance to the cursed people of New Orleans in their time of need; too centralized, too bureaucratic and unable to respond effectively to anything.

    Disaster planning is much better left local and the feds should stay out of it.

    • The provinces probably did all the planning and managing they with no extra money. All of the vaccine administrators in our region are volunteers, all 6 of them. They have to travel from town to town, 7 town on a 270 km stretch, for 4 weeks, on their own dime and time. All they could offer as information was a photocopied sheet of paper. All in all, the best these volunteers could do is 316 vaccines in one day.

      400 Million$ would go a long way to make sure the 6 million doses distributed are actually doses administered. But… as you say… that's not the conservative's problem.

      • There are no shortage of funds swilling around at every level of government. The provincial liberals have implemented massive spending increases (not to mention the odd $1 billion on eHealth) – could they have not spared a few dollars for this? The regions are no better.

        I am sympathetic to the shortages and deficits that those at the sharp end have suffered, but it really is not Harper's fault.

        • Of course this is not Harper's fault. Nothing is. Ever. I think he passed a law to that effect but the confounded senate blocked it.

          Harper cut the public health emergency contingency from $400 million to $80 million. The Auditor General confirmed that they have no plans, have shown no leadership on preparedness. Harper placed his vaccine order 4 months later than most other countries. Harper changed the order midway through causing further delay. Immunization rollout started in Canada 5-6 weeks later than many other countries and 3-4 weeks after the United States.

          But no, Harper had no responsibility or fault here at all.

        • The spending increases you're refering to are to compensate for the over compensated spending cuts of the Harris/Martin era. Even with these increases the status of the healthcare system in Ontario was still running short (except possibly for Queen's in Kingston). Forcing the provincial governments to organise the delivery and foot the bill as well when they're already running at full capacity is just ludicrous.

  24. It's ironic that H1N1 has been politicized in Canada because the official response has been the least partisan thing any government organization (federal, provincial, regional) has done in decades.

    I think most governments in Canada have done quite well for the job in front of them, getting out the word, getting out the vaccine, and getting out the Tamiflu and treatment plans.

    The governments (federal Conservatives, provincial NDP or LIberal, whoever) have done well precisely because they accepted the advice of their experts, removed their often obstructionist partisan oversight/approvals and let the bureaucrats and healthcare professionals get on with the job.

    10% of the population of Winnipeg was immunized in 4 days! I'm sorry people but large systems just don't work any faster, especially when dealing with uncertainty. Asking them to go faster will only lead to more mistakes. And you know that mistakes are being made, right? I should hope so, because if they weren't, nothing would be happening!

  25. What happened to the isotope shortage, what happned to the economy, all on harpers shoulders. The liberal party are so stupid, stick to oe issue stupids. Now App has chastised the conservatives for having all 'eggs in one basket', in this (basket) case, it was old man Chretien that did a contract for 10 years to only have one lab, to serve all of canada. and JC got a whack of cash out of it.I think this will blow over and Iffy will have to rethink what will be outrageous next.

  26. I don't think that even Alberta is happy about it, despite's Harper's Alberta Agenda.

  27. Oh my Bruce, that 10 year contract you speak of is not exclusive. The current government gets to wear the hat on responsibility for finding alternative sources of vaccine.

    As for calling me Liberal. Your wrong. At current I hold no party affiliation. I just happen to stand with a strong left lean.

  28. Absolute BS, typical of one who is afflicted with leftist mental disorder and unfortunately there is no vaccine for that.

  29. Back to name calling. I'm done with you.

  30. Good riddance and don't let the door hit you on the ass on the way out.