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O’Toole calls for more rapid testing, vaccine deployment plan

(Erin O’Toole, leader of the Conservative Party of Canada)

Conservative Party Leader Erin O’Toole says the country is “worse off” than it was at the start of the pandemic and is calling on the federal government to do more.

The Durham MP released a statement following a briefing on the government’s projected COVID-19 numbers in Canada in the coming weeks.

“What struck me was that 11 months after news about the spread of COVID-19 emerged, after thousands of lives and millions of jobs have been lost, and hundreds of billions of dollars has been added to the national debt, we as a country are worse off than we were at the start of the pandemic,” O’Toole says.

He says the country is in the position it’s in because the government “failed” to provide rapid testing for COVID-19, share a plan on delivering a vaccine, and be transparent on what COVID-19 related information is being used to make decisions that affect lives and jobs.

“Canadians need to see a real plan to test, trace and isolate those who are infected,” O’Toole continues, noting shutting down the entire country again is “simply not a solution.”

O’Toole is calling on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to “finally do what he should have done months ago to protect Canadians’ lives and their jobs.”

He wants to see widespread access to rapid testing for all Canadians, including providing access to at-home tests, to stop the spread of the virus while allowing workers to go to their jobs and for families to be safely reunited.

O’Toole is also calling on the Liberals to develop more effective and targeted measures to protect, isolate, and support those infected with COVID-19, explain to Canadians how, when and where they will be able to get a vaccine when it becomes available, provide rapid COVID-19 tests for all travellers entering Canada, and to share with Canadians more timely information about the locations and sources of community spread.

As some regions are seeing rapidly rising numbers, O’Toole says Canadians have yet to see a detailed plan on testing and vaccine deployment.

“The Liberal government is revealing the risks of the second wave but have not learned the lessons from the first,” he continues. “Canadians can count on me to ensure we push for a smarter response.”