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COVID: Concerns raised over gov’t quarantine hotel spending

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Conservative MP Michelle Rempel Garner has expressed concern over federal spending on so-called COVID-19 quarantine hotels, calling the total amount spent on hotels in the Calgary area in 2022 “legally staggering”. is.

In fiscal 2022, the federal government spent $6,790,717.46 to use the Westin Calgary Airport Hotel as a quarantine facility, according to Rempel Garner’s responses to questions on a purchase order filed in November. In calendar year 2022, the hotel accommodated 15 of his people during the quarantine period, costing about $452,714.50 per person.

“Government waste is always a problem,” Rempel Garner wrote in a Substack post. “But at a time when deficit spending needs to be curtailed due to inflationary pressures, waste of this magnitude shows that Trudeau has neither the ability nor the willingness to control things.”

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

Over the course of two and a half years, the hotel hosted 1,490 people at a cost of about $18,000 per person, or about $27 million.

In response to Rempel Garner, PHAC writes:

Federal hotel quarantine requirements are nearly complete in August 2021.

“The fact that these contracts continued even after quarantine restrictions were eased demonstrates the government’s lack of ability to control spending,” said Lempel Garner of CTV National News Congressional Bureau. told reporter Annie Bergeron-Oliver. “As we face an inflationary crisis driven by this kind of spending, it raises a lot of questions about what else is being mismanaged.”

Rempel Garner called it a “somebody should be fired” problem and questioned the amount of money the government spent on all officially designated quarantine facilities.

Rempel Garner asked Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos on Tuesday about how long spending in the House of Commons has been an issue.

“We were all very concerned about the terrible pain and the high number of deaths and even more hospitalizations we were seeing in Canada with COVID-19,” Duclos said. “That is why our primary responsibility was and remains to protect the safety and health of Canadians, including the tens of thousands of people who had to access designated quarantine facilities.”

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

Transport Minister Omar Al-Ghabra said on Tuesday that there was an opportunity to reflect on lessons learned regarding the government’s response to COVID-19, but that the government would “do what it felt was necessary to protect the health and safety of Canadians.” I did,” he said.

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

He said basic amenities such as milk for coffee and laundry services were difficult to come by, and that there was no hot water in their room.

“It wasn’t as smooth as we had hoped.

“The concept of entering a quarantine hotel was non-stressful,” he said. “Hotels are designed to be comfortable.

Kennedy wanted the cash value of the amount the government spent per person at the Westin Calgary Airport Hotel for his family’s hotel stay in Toronto, so he could arrange it himself.

“That’s a lot of money without cold food and no hot water,” he said.

In December 2021, General Accountability Office Karen Hogan reported that she had identified:big gapin the administration of PHAC’s Emergency Travel Measures, which came into effect in early 2021.

Hogan reports that for 75% of travelers entering Canada, the PHAC did not know whether people who were asked to isolate in hotels actually did so. She also reported that PHAC did not reliably track whether air travelers who were notified that they had tested positive for COVID-19 stayed at government-sanctioned hotels as required.

CTVNews.ca has asked PHAC for a statement, but has yet to receive it. The total amount the government has spent on designated quarantine facilities across the country remains unknown.

Using files from CTV National News Congressional Bureau Reporter Annie Bergeron-Oliver and CTVNews.ca Senior Digital Congressional Reporter Rachel Aiello

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