Kootenay-Columbia MP Rob Morrison speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons.

Kootenay-Columbia MP Rob Morrison speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons.

MP Morrison responds to federal throne speech, pushes for rapid testing at airports

Kootenay-Columbia parliamentarian criticizes throne speech, wants COIVD-19 testing at borders, airports

The federal Liberals passed a confidence vote with support from the federal NDP following throne speech in Ottawa earlier this month — a speech that lays out governing priorities over the parliamentary session.

However, the speech was opposed by the Conservative Party, as Kootenay-Columbia MP Rob Morrison said it fell short in a number of areas, particularly in failing to address Western alienation, increased oversight in the wake of the WE Charity scandal, and COVID-19 supports.

“Really the throne speech didn’t have a solid plan on how we are going to recover and that’s really what we wanted to see,” said Morrison, in an interview with Black Press. “Not just the talk of spending money, but where are the tax dollars coming from that are going to pay for hundreds of billions of dollars of debt?”

Had the confidence vote failed, a federal election could have been a likely outcome.

While some provincial jurisdictions are calling elections in the pandemic era, such as British Columbia and New Brunswick, Morrison said now is not the time for a federal election.

“First of all, COVID is number one on everybody’s mind right now, we all know that,” Morrison said. “Number two is jobs — we need to stimulate the economy to get people back to work. Having an election right now that’s going to cost another hundreds of millions of dollars isn’t the answer. We really want to work with the government to get the economy stimulated so we can get people back to work.”

An advocate for rapid testing to spur international travel, Morrison says Air Canada has purchased 25,000 rapid COVID-19 tests that produce a positive result in five minutes or a negative result in under 15 minutes.

However, the airline company is not allowed to use the tests as an alternative to a mandatory 14-day quarantine for international travellers, even though the tests are approved by Health Canada.

“It’s unbelievable. Where’s the common sense? If they pay for it themselves, which they do, and they want to rapid test people coming to Canada who, once they test negative, wouldn’t have to 14-day quarantine, why wouldn’t we do that with everybody coming into Canada?”

He added that rapid testing should also be available at ports of entry on the Canadian border as well, to quickly determine if travellers are COVID-19 free or if they need to quarantine.

“It strikes as odd that a Health Canada approved product isn’t automatically put out there for the airlines, whether it’s WestJet or Air Canada and I’m hoping that some common sense will prevail through Health Canada and the minister to allow WestJet and Air Canada to do this testing.”

International flights are still restricted to four airports across the country in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto and Montreal.



trevor.crawley@cranbrooktownsman.com

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