A House of Commons committee has narrowly voted to censor documents pertaining to the Public Health Agency of Canada’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
According to Blacklock’s Reporter, on Monday the House of Commons’ health committee voted 6-5 to block the release of PHAC emails and allow the agency to censor any documents they release.
“We’re trying to get to the bottom of some of the discussions. More than 100,000 Canadians have gotten sick during this pandemic and thousands have tragically died,” said Conservative MP Matt Jeneroux.
“All Canadians deserve to know what information the government is using to make decisions.”
Liberal and Bloc Québécois MPs voted to censor the documents while the Conservative and NDP members wanted to see all documents released unredacted.
NDP MP Don Davies said the lack of transparency puts public faith in Canadian institutions at risk.
“The Canadian public may or may not have lost trust in this government, but we risk them losing trust in their chief public health officer and government if we fail them as parliamentarians and don’t seek out information,” he said.
Earlier this year it was revealed that the PHAC disposed of two million masks and other pieces of equipment from Canada’s emergency stockpile in 2019.
The lost equipment was never replaced, leading to a severe storage of personal protective equipment. The cost to replace the lost stockpile was reported to be $1.8 billion in June.
According to Blacklock’s, hundreds of pages of documents sent to the health committee by Health Canada have already been censored. The pages that were not censored contained mainly positive information, including the claim that everything was “working exactly as it should” despite the stockpile shortage.
Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam has admitted not enough medical supplies were stockpiled.
At the height of the pandemic Canada’s frontline medical professionals told the Health Committee that they “feel betrayed” by the government’s failure to prepare for the pandemic.
Doctors and nurses were being forced to ration medical supplies like masks, and many told the Canadian Medical Association in April that they feared their hospital would run out supplies.