Sunday, November 01, 2009

Health Minister Aglukkaq on Question Period

Clip available for watching here.

This is a beleaguered Health Minister, clinging to and repeating talking points throughout. Oliver tried to shake her from them with not too much luck. You will leave the interview knowing that this is a "huge undertaking for Canada" and further that "the guidelines were established back in September" to help provinces focus on the most vulnerable. That's pretty much it from Aglukkaq. Does that help Canadians? They're probably looking for some leadership and that was absent here.

So about those "guidelines" that Aglukkaq says have been in place (as if that's suposed to mean anything to Canadians waiting in those lines), if these guidelines were supposed to set priorities in terms of high risk groups going first, why was the general public under the impression that they could haul off to get vaccinated then? Aglukkaq says Canadians "have the information." It's not clear that they do.

No answer on the choice to go with a single supplier of vaccine, GlaxoSmithKline. She mumbled something about sticking with a domestic supplier. OK. But then they pivot and buy the "unadjuvanted" vaccine from Australia at the drop of a hat. So domestic considerations are actually not an overriding concern. That single supplier decision, and others, may bear further scrutiny down the road.

No confident message delivered here, Aglukkaq seems to take a hands off approach to what the provinces are doing as they struggle to deliver this vaccine, stretched as they are. Hard to believe that this was the kind of reassuring performance from the nation's Health Minister that Canadians would want to see today given events of the past week.