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COVID: Concerns grow over government quarantine hotel spending

Conservative MP Michelle Rempel Garner is expressing concern over the federal government’s spending on so-called COVID-19 quarantine hotels, calling total spending on a Calgary-area hotel in 2022 as “” legally amazing.”

According to a response to a paper order question submitted by Rempel Garner in November, in fiscal year 2022, the federal government spent $6,790.717.46 to use the Westin Calgary Airport hotel as a facility. isolation. In calendar year 2022, the hotel is home to 15 people during their quarantine, costing about 452,714.5 USD/person.

“Government waste has always been an issue,” Rempel Garner wrote in a Substack post. “But the waste of this magnitude when it comes to the need to rein in deficit spending due to inflationary pressures shows that Trudeau doesn’t have the ability or willingness to keep things under control.”

The Westin Calgary Airport Hotel was designated a quarantine facility from June 22, 2020 to October 30, 2022, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC).

Over the course of two and a half years, the hotel was home to 1,490 people for nearly $27 million, about $18,000 per person.

In response to Rempel Garner, the PHAC wrote that “since this response requires manual information collection, there may be a small degree of human error in determining how much the federal government paid to the Stadium hotel. fly Westin Calgary.”

The federal government’s hotel quarantine requirements have largely ended in August 2021.

“The fact that these contracts continued even after the quarantine restrictions were eased really shows the incompetence of the government in managing expenditures,” Rempel Garner told the Office Reporter. Parliamentary Room of CTV National News, Annie Bergeron-Oliver. “Since we are in an inflationary crisis driven by this kind of spending, it raises a lot of questions about other things being mismanaged.”

Rempel Garner called it an issue of “someone should be fired” and questioned how much the government had spent on all of its officially designated quarantine facilities.

Rempel Garner asked Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos about the questionable period spending in the House of Commons on Tuesday.

“We are all very mindful of the tremendous pain and large numbers of deaths, as well as the even greater number of hospitalizations, that we have seen in Canada because of COVID-19,” said Duclos. “That’s why our primary responsibility has been and still is to protect the safety and health of Canadians, including tens of thousands of people who must access designated isolation facilities.”

“Thanks to these measures and vaccinations, Mr. Speaker, we have saved tens of thousands of lives and tens of billions of dollars in economic costs,” he added.

Transport Minister Omar Alghabra said on Tuesday that there is an opportunity to reflect on the lessons learned when it comes to the government’s response to COVID-19, but the government “has done what we felt necessary to protect the health and safety of Canadians.”

Larry Kennedy spent 4 days in a quarantine hotel in Toronto with his wife and two young children in December 2021.

He said it was difficult to get basic amenities, such as milk for coffee, or laundry service, and that their rooms didn’t have hot water.

“Things didn’t go as well as we expected,” Kennedy said, adding that he and his family only had hand luggage, limited clothing and no supplies for the children.

“The concept of going into a quarantine hotel is not a stressful one,” he said. “Hotels are designed for comfort; it was just uncomfortable for those four days.

Kennedy said he would like the cash value of what the government spends per person at the Westin Calgary Airport hotel for a stay at his family’s hotel in Toronto so he can arrange for himself.

“That’s a lot of money for cold food and no hot water,” he said.

In December 2021, Inspector General Karen Hogan reported that she had identified “significant gaps” in the management of the PHAC’s emergency travel measures effective in early 2021. She covers quarantine orders from July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021.

According to the Hogan report, for 75% of travelers flying to Canada, the PHAC doesn’t know if those required to isolate in hotels are actually doing so. She also reported that the PHAC had not reliably tracked whether air travelers who had been notified of a positive COVID-19 test were staying at a government-authorized hotel under request or not.

CTVNews.ca has reached out to PHAC for a statement but has not yet received it. It remains unclear how much the government has spent in total on designated quarantine facilities across the country.


Featuring files from CTV National News Parliamentary Office Correspondent Annie Bergeron-Oliver and CTVNews.ca Senior Digital Parliamentary Correspondent Rachel Aiello



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