A Liberal MP who wants to hold a government-wide pandemic review responded to the news that former Reform Party leader Preston Manning was chairing a citizen-led inquiry into federal and provincial Covid-19 responses by doubling-down on the need for an independent legislative process.

Beaches–East York MP Nathaniel Erskine-Smith told True North that while any review needs to be transparent and non-partisan, he thinks the legislated review process initiated by parliament was the path forward. 

“Any review process needs to be transparent, non-partisan, credible, and involve feedback and lessons learned from independent experts as well as decision-makers at all levels of government,” said Erskine-Smith. 

“For my part, I continue to think that a legislated review process with support from all parties is a good idea and that the focus should be on learning lessons for future prevention and preparedness efforts.”

On Wednesday, Manning announced the launch of the National Citizens Inquiry (NCI) which seeks to examine a swathe of consequences that resulted from government public health measures. 

“The inquiry will examine the consequences on public and personal health, rights and freedoms, on specific demographic groups such as the aged and our children, and the economy,” wrote Manning in a press release yesterday. 

“Those testifying before the Inquiry will also be asked for recommendations for how Canada’s response in matters as this could be better managed in the future.”

Erskine-Smith has sponsored Bill C-293, also known as An Act respecting pandemic prevention and preparedness, which is set to be debated in the House of Commons beginning on Nov. 15. 

Much like the NCI, Erskine-Smith’s bill also seeks to study the “effectiveness” of pandemic measures and relevant “health, economic and social factors” but through a more official process involving government appointees. 

Erskine-Smith has been vocal about a need for “accountability and transparency” when it comes to how governments handled the past few years. 

“We need a greater level of accountability and transparency. And so in this case, we need the Health Minister ideally to identify the key drivers of pandemic risks, describe how Canadian activities contribute to that risk, and then put in place measures to mitigate that risk,” said Erskine-Smith in October.