This week in the virtual House of Commons, the Conservative opposition party tabled an 'opposition day motion' that called for the Liberal government to introduce a data driven COVID re-opening plan within 20 days to support “gradually, safely and permanently lifting COVID-19 restrictions.”
As is often the case with opposition day motions, the Liberal government has offered up a litany of reasons that suggest they will oppose this motion that, at the time of this report, has not yet been voted on.
Why the need for a re-opening plan?
As Canadians know, vaccinations are now underway and regrettably Canada is currently significantly behind many countries, including the United States.
Already many local small businesses involved in tourism, as well as accommodation providers are receiving reservation requests from fully immunized American citizens for potential upcoming vacation stays.
For an industry that has been devastated by this pandemic, the opportunity for bookings and accompanying revenue is desperately needed.
Unfortunately, for this industry, and many others, they are unclear how and when to respond to these requests.
There are also remains a critically important question.
Many citizens are currently under various restrictions and requirements.
While the Prime Minister has promised that all citizens who are wanting to be immunized by the end of September will be, we do not know what vision the PM has following this time frame.
This relates to the obvious question.
For Canadian citizens who eventually are fully vaccinated, how will that potentially change federal restrictions for them on travel beyond Canadian borders?
Likewise, if other countries propose a requirement that fully vaccinated citizens produce vaccination verification documentation, how does this Government propose to respond to this?
Many Canadians want and deserve to know what the game plan is once vaccines in Canada have been fully administered.
The answers to these questions are also very badly needed by those in the travel and aviation sectors who have been decimated by this pandemic.
While the Liberal government MP's arguing against this motion have largely suggested that expectations for a re-opening plan is “too soon”, it must be noted that USA President Joe Biden and British PM Boris Johnson have both released public plans for economic reopening.
We all know that COVID restrictions have had serious economic and mental health impacts on many Canadians.
It is important that we all have clarity on when and how the federal government believes regular economic and social life will be able to resume.
My question this week:
Do you believe it is a reasonable expectation that the Liberal government present a data driven, gradual re-opening plan much as the USA and UK have already done?
I can be reached at Dan.Albas@parl.gc.ca or call toll free 1-800-665-8711.
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Dan Albas is the Member of Parliament for the riding of Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola.