MP Michelle Rempel Garner Calls Out Liberals for Spending $6 Million On A Quarantine Hotel In 2022

A Calgary MP, Michelle Rempel Garner, is questioning the government over the spending of millions of dollars on housing a small number of individuals in a quarantine hotel in 2022 when most of the restrictions had already been lifted.

According to the documents obtained by Rempel Garner, the Public Health Authority of Canada (PHAC) spent almost $6.8 million on the Westin Calgary Airport hotel, which accommodated only 15 people. The previous year, $11 million was spent on housing 1,356 travelers at the Westin and $8.9 million for rooms and meals for 119 people.

Source: Order Paper Question (Q-998)

A frustrated Rempel Garner highlighted that this meant that the federal government paid over $450,000 per person for lodging expenses “long after the rest of the world had ended quarantine hotel restrictions and after the government lifted travel restrictions.”

“I put in something called an order paper question which compels the government to respond to me,” the Calgary Nose Hill MP said on Tuesday. “I asked if indeed the government had still been spending money on quarantine hotel facilities, even though restrictions had been lifted, and if so, how much?”

During a question period in the House of Commons, Rempel Garner demanded answers from Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos, who stated that the health and safety of Canadians have always been the government’s top priority, but did not directly address Rempel Garner’s concerns.

“Our primary responsibility has been and remains to protect the safety and health of Canadians, including tens of thousands of people who had to access the designated quarantine facilities (DQFs),” Duclos said. “Because of these measures and vaccination, we have saved together tens of thousands of lives and tens of billions of dollars in economic costs.”

The quarantine facility operated from June 2020 to October 2022, despite the easing of restrictions months before. Rempel Garner expressed her disappointment with the government’s decision to continue to spend millions of dollars on a quarantine hotel, even with the option to cancel the contract. All Covid-19 border restrictions, including quarantine, were lifted on October 1, 2022.

“[The order paper is] not just talking about the payment to the hotel. They’ve also got close to $2 million for security, another close to $100,000 roughly for transportation, and then something like close to $2.5 to $3 million here for something called ‘traveler support services and cleaning services,’” the MP Added.

Source: Order Paper Question (Q-998)

The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) confirmed in a statement on Wednesday that there were 38 designated quarantine facilities (DQFs) nationwide, which cost $388.7 million between April 2020 to December 2022. The Westin Calgary Airport hotel’s designation was canceled on October 30, 2022, and there are currently no DQFs in operation. 

The PHAC stated that public health measures and vaccines prevented an estimated 30.7 million COVID-19 infections and saved 760,000 lives. The quarantine facilities were established to curb the spread of the virus and save lives.

Rempel Garner plans to continue her search for any other hotels that were operating as designated facilities, even after the restrictions were lifted or if any are still in operation. 

“There‘s no justification for the expense,” the MP said. “This is gross, gross mismanagement.”

The spending of millions of dollars on housing a few individuals in a quarantine hotel has sparked controversy, especially with many Canadians struggling to make ends meet and the affordability of housing being a major concern. 

Rempel Garner has also previously called out the Trudeau government for being passive towards the most pressing problems of everyday Canadians. In October, the MP, in an impassioned speech at the House of Commons, said “enough with the woke sh*t!”

Information for this briefing was found via Global News, the Toronto Sun, and the sources mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to this organization. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.

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