OTTAWA — Triggered by the planned Cornwall coronavirus quarantine, MP Eric Duncan went into “bulldog” mode in Parliament on Tuesday, firing his first-ever rebuke in anger across the floor to the governing party.
When Liberal MP Darren Fisher, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health, suggested Duncan had turned down a briefing on the file, the S-D-SG MP — his face flushed — stood up, gestured angrily across the aisle and shot back: “To clarify to the member, the minister offered the meeting after the news was made late Saturday night through social media!”
Fisher said the quarantine established at Canadian Forces Base Trenton is at capacity and can’t accommodate more repatriated Canadians returning to this country after possible exposure to the COVID-19 virus.
Duncan pointed out that Cornwall’s Nav Centre is not a military base, employs many local people and sees hundreds of visitors daily. The Centre’s prior recent service hosting flood victims and asylum seekers is an “apple and oranges” situation compared to acting as a quarantine facility, the local MP argues.
Global Affairs Canada took Duncan and Cornwall Mayor Bernadette Clement by surprise when it revealed last Saturday night that asymptomatic Canadians who were stuck in Japanese quarantine aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship are due to arrive at the Centre for two additional weeks of quarantine on Canadian soil. Two hundred and fifty-five Canadians were travelling aboard the stricken liner. Those showing symptoms of the SARS-like sickness won’t be allowed onto the flight out of Japan.
The Eastern Ontario Health Unit says the plan poses no risk to the public.