The federal NDP are calling for an inquiry into the federal government’s Covid-19 response, labeling the Liberal government’s current stance “unacceptable.”
Speaking at a press conference held in Ottawa Monday, NDP MP Don Davies called for an investigation under the Inquiries Act. The NDP highlighted how Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said there will be time for a “lessons learned” exercise in the future, but he won’t commit to a time or even whether the review will be independent.
“It’s unacceptable that the Liberals won’t commit to an independent review of Canada’s response to the most severe pandemic in a century,” said Davies.
“We can’t put politics above public health. Instead of papering over the federal government’s inadequacies and failures, we must leave no stone unturned to learn from past mistakes and prepare for future threats,” Davies added.
The Act would give a public commission powers to subpoena witnesses, request evidence and retain experts.
The new call comes two weeks after former Reform Party leader Preston Manning launched the National Citizens’ Inquiry (NCI), an independent investigation into the response to COVID-19.
In a press release on Tuesday, the NCI said that the NDP’s newly announced position speaks to changing public attitudes around mandates.
“Public opinion undoubtedly has had much to do with reversing the NDP’s position since recent polls have shown that 3 out of 4 Canadians report being harmed by the government’s Covid-19 policies,” wrote Manning.
The NDP voted alongside the Liberals throughout much of the pandemic and leader Jagmeet Singh continues to prop up Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in exchange for policy promises. On various motions demanding transparency from the federal government on pandemic-related matters, the NDP voted to support the Liberals.
“The NDP have sold out again. They just voted against ordering the Winnipeg Lab Documents at the Foreign Affairs Committee, reversing from the position that they took in the last Parliament. They are now siding with the Liberals, against democratic accountability,” tweeted CPC MP Garnett Genuis in April.
Manning first announced the launch of the NCI on Nov. 2. Currently, the inquiry has an open call for commissioners.
According to the group, the inquiry is expected to complete its investigation by March 2023 and will be delivering a subsequent report with recommendations to the federal government soon after.
“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.
“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.”
Calls for an investigation into the Covid-19 response have emerged from within the ranks of the Liberal party itself also.
As exclusively reported by True North, Liberal MP Nathaniel Erskine-Smith reiterated his call for a parliamentary inquiry into the past few years.
“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.”