Lack of transparency
I have been increasingly hearing about from parents with young children concerned about a serious shortage of children’s pain relief medicine at local pharmacies and grocery stores.
Recently a citizen from Kelowna, returning from a trip to Washington State, sent me pictures from some USA based grocery stores and asked why the same problem was not occurring in the United States.
He asked what Prime Minister Trudeau was doing to resolve this problem.
While it is true that the United States does not have this problem to the same extent than Canada, it is less clear as to the reasons why.
Fortunately, early this week, Health Canada issued a statement that may help resolve this critical shortage.
Health Canada indicated that the agency has “secured foreign supply of children’s acetaminophen that will be available in retail stores and pharmacies in the coming weeks.”
Now the reason why I suggest this may help resolve this critical shortage is because Health Canada is refusing to reveal precisely how much supply they have “secured” nor will they reveal exactly where in Canada it will be distributed.
After two years of very detailed drug procurement and distribution information from Health Canada, during the pandemic, this sudden refusal to disclose these same basic details and the lack of transparency raises serious questions and concerns.
Why would this information be withheld from Canadians?
On an unrelated note, this week a continued investigation into how the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) managed to spend $54 million on the “ArriveCan app” after it was originally budgeted to cost $80,000.
The ArriveCan app is no longer mandatory for those travelling into Canada.
CBSA was to turn over documentation related to this boondoggle to the House of Commons standing committee on government operations and estimates this week, to meet a pre-established production order and deadline.
So far CBSA has declined to reveal exactly where the money went and who ended up with it.
When a committee or the House itself passes a production order- as was the case here - that order is equivalent to a court order, and government, elected to serve the House, must respond.
While these two situations are not directly related, they do point to a disturbing pattern.
Citizens elect Members of Parliament to represent them at the federal government level in Ottawa.
Parents wondering about what actions are being taken to rectify the critical shortage of children’s pain medication deserve to know what is being done, with significant details.
Likewise, when a federal department somehow manages to spend $54 million on an app, Canadians deserve to know where that money went and who profited from it.
These should not be considered partisan questions and Canadians deserve to have answers to these questions.
Instead, we see stonewalling, excuses, and a complete and total disregard for Canadians right to know basic information on how and where their money is being spent.
My question this week:
Are you concerned by this growing lack of transparency, or do you view this as the official opposition sweating what you consider small and insignificant details?
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.
Central Okanagan – Similkameen – Nicola