Sask. premier's remark directed at vaccine manufacturer a 'poor word choice,' NDP says

·3 min read
Sask. premier's remark directed at vaccine manufacturer a 'poor word choice,' NDP says

Premier Scott Moe said Tuesday he was concerned that no Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine shipments would be coming to Saskatchewan or Canada next week and he suggested the premiers would like the prime minister to light a figurative firecracker under the powers that be at Pfizer.

Moe was piggybacking comments made by Ontario Premier Doug Ford, who expressed his frustration by suggesting Prime Minister Justin Trudeau should be calling the leaders at Pfizer and demanding vaccine be shipped sooner.

"I'd be up that guy's ying-yang so far with a firecracker he wouldn't know what hit him," Ford said.

Moe quoted Ford adding, "I would just say if the prime minister were able to do that there would be a lineup of premiers behind that would bring a lighter to that party."

The comment came near the end of the Moe's now weekly news conference. The question posed related to when residents in long-term care would have restrictions eased once they have received both doses of vaccine.

CBC reached out to Pfizer Canada for a response. The company declined to comment on the remarks from Ford and Moe.

The federal government says it has a contract with Pfizer to deliver four million doses by the end of March.

It expects the company will send larger shipments over the next two months to make up for the slowdown.

"This situation with the Pfizer delay is temporary. Our vaccination objectives for the first quarter of the year, January to March, are not changing," Trudeau said Tuesday.

Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, the military commander leading vaccine logistics for the federal government, said that Canadians should expect only 50 per cent of the promised Pfizer-BioNTech doses the government was promised for the remainder of January.

Fortin said Canada will only get 82 per cent of the vaccine doses it expected this week, and no deliveries at all from Pfizer-BioNTech next week, before shipments resume in the last week of January.

NDP calls Moe's comment 'poor word choice'

Opposition health critic Vicki Mowat said she shares the anger about the vaccine delay and understands Moe's sentiment but thinks he did not deliver his message the right way.

"The language was a poor choice of words and disturbing."

Mowat said she believes the province would have fewer cases if the government had implemented the NDP's "circuit breaker" in November.

"It's very concerning to hear the premier would change nothing about his COVID response. It's the type of arrogance we have come to expect from the premier, unfortunately."

On Tuesday, with the province leading the country in the rate of active cases over the past seven days, Moe said the numbers were trending down, albeit slower than he had liked, and said he was "very positive in where we are going."

Moe called the current restrictions, which expire next Friday, "significant."

Mowat said the "current approach isn't working. Their approach to the second wave has led to this."

She said the government has not implemented targeted measures to bring numbers down.

On Wednesday, the province reported 234 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the seven-day average down slightly to 298.