The Minister of Federal intergovernmental affairs, Dominic LeBlanc, states Ottawa will be diverting any COVID-19 vaccine shots from Atlantic Canada to Ontario without the clear consent of the provincial premiers.
And Dominic LeBlanc points out it’s clear that consensus is not in existence.
Dominic, the minister managing vaccine distribution and the MP for Beausejour, was responding to a proposition from the Canadian Medical Association that areas with low COVID-19 cases forego a fraction of the vaccines for them to be used in Ontario where case rates are high.
The Minister acknowledged that last fall, the Council of the Federation, consisting of all provincial and territorial premiers, were in complete agreement that all vaccines coming to Canada should be dispersed to the provinces per capita, according to their respective populations.
LeBlanc stated on Monday,
“Our view that the government of Canada would not unilaterally change those arrangements unless the Council of the Federation or the premiers by consensus came back to us with another proposal.”
“We are not going to, on our own, adjust that formula.”
The Minister claims if an agreement for a change surfaced, “we would look at it.” Still, according to public comments by various premiers and his own personal conversations, “there does not appear to be an easy consensus on adjusting the formula.”
Higgs not ruling out diversion
The previous Friday, Premier Blaine Higgs would not exclude consenting to a diversion of the New Brunswick’s vaccine distribution.
“I don’t think we should dismiss it.”
“I don’t think that’s the Canadian way.”
However, two Atlantic premiers, Andrew Furey of Newfoundland and Labrador and Iain Rankin of Nova Scotia, declared they would go against shifting vaccine shipments.
LeBlanc also noted that the shots take two weeks to protect beneficiaries from the virus, so diverting vaccines there
“won’t stop the immediate need for aggressive and effective public health measures in Ontario.”
LeBlanc claims he’s been conversing with premiers on whether other health care supplies, including people, can be directed to Ontario with the condition that there is no effect on their respective provincial services.
“It’s entirely in the provincial government’s wheelhouse to decide what and who can be made available, if at all possible.”
The federal administration is ready to finance the travel, salary costs, and accommodation of any volunteer health care personnel who wants to chip in.
Nicolle Carlin, Higgs spokesperson, stated the cabinet would make any resolution with input from the regional health authorities and the all-party cabinet committee on COVID-19.
“Any human resources that could potentially be shared would also be based upon medical professionals in our province volunteering to assist in another province.”