Using the Emergencies Act would help address the tragedy in Long Term Care Homes

Ms. Elizabeth May (Saanich—Gulf Islands, GP): Madam Speaker, I am very concerned, as is our Green Party leader, Annamie Paul. I look forward to the day when the Speaker will chastise me for using her name out loud, which would mean that she finally has a seat in Parliament. However, Annamie Paul has been very clear that this is a senicide, that we are seeing the equivalent of a genocide among seniors as 70% of all the deaths in Canada from COVID so far have been in long-term care homes.

I am horrified, I think we all are, to hear over the national news that in Ontario in long-term care homes, people with COVID-positive tests were kept in the same bedroom as other residents who did not have COVID. These are basic public health rules that we have known for decades, and yet in the second wave of this pandemic we are seeing mismanagement in these homes under provincial jurisdiction.

I know it is a sensitive matter, but I am going to raise again the question my hon. colleague just asked the parliamentary secretary. I am asking this as question, because I am not sure, but is it not time that we used the Emergencies Act, which allows a coordinated approached and emergency help, and at least apply it to long-term care homes specifically? We do not have to extend it to all aspects of the COVID response or vaccinations. We could apply it specifically to long-term care homes so that we would not have to beg Premier Doug Ford to send in the military, the federal government could do it.

Gary Anandasangaree (Scarborough—Rouge Park)
2021-01-25 18:10 [p.3450]

Madam Speaker, I think that there are additional measures that can be taken without imposing the Emergencies Act. I believe that the province can do more, and as a federal government we are ready to do more. We have the military on standby and we have the Red Cross already deployed in many of the homes.

We have expended a great deal of funds to the provinces themselves. It is essential that we do everything we can to support those in long-term care homes. However, I do not necessarily think that imposing the Emergencies Act will solve that. I think there are deeper-rooted issues that may not be resolved overnight. What we need to do is mitigate the losses we have had.
It is not too late. There are still outbreaks taking place that we can intervene in, and that is why I am asking Premier Ford to call in the military.