Rather than wait for Health Canada to “play catchup,” Alberta will start using coronavirus treatments currently being used in other countries.

On CBC’s Power & Politics, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said that the province will seek out coronavirus treatments that have been approved in other Western countries.

“We’re not going to wait for Health Canada to play catchup with for example the European Union’s drug regulator or the Food and Drug Administration in the United States,” Kenney said.

“The direction I have given our officials is that if we see a highly credible regulator of medications in a peer jurisdiction like the European Union, Australia or the United States, that has approved a test, or a vaccine, or medication, we should pursue that.”

Kenney also criticized Canada’s chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam who recently said that the government is suspicious of some of the tests and treatments approved by other countries. 

“This is the same Dr. Tam who is telling us that we shouldn’t close our borders to countries with high levels of infection and who in January was repeating talking points out of the [People’s Republic of China] about the no evidence of human-to-human transmission,” he said.

Canada’s response to the coronavirus pandemic was delayed compared to many countries, with Dr. Tam’s early advice conflicting with the reality of the virus.

In January, Dr. Tam said that Canada should follow the advice of the World Health Organization and not implement any travel bans. It wasn’t until three weeks later that the Trudeau government issued a travel ban.

Kenney added that countries that closed their borders early on such as Taiwan and Singapore have had a significantly lower rate of infections than other countries.

Alberta has seen a less serious coronavirus outbreak compared to other provinces, which Kenney attributes to the following of health orders and social distancing.

Confident in the province’s ability to cope with the coronavirus, the Alberta government pledged its excess ventilators and personal protective equipment to provinces that are facing more serious outbreaks.

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