Jason Kenney Says He 'Won't Wait' For Health Canada To Approve New Medications & Vaccines

The Premier had some strong words for Ottawa.
Jason Kenney Says He 'Won't Wait' For Health Canada To Approve New Medications & Vaccines

Alberta's premier is not planning on patiently waiting when it comes to the pandemic. In fact, Jason Kenney told CBC News on Monday, April 13 that he will not wait for Health Canada to approve new medications, tests, or vaccines in response to COVID-19. Instead, he will begin rolling them out for the province if other countries have approved them.

In a CBC News interview, Kenney addressed a tweet he posted to his account on April 12. 

Initially, someone named Dr. Jack Mintz had posted a tweet, saying, "Hope Health Canada is not getting in the way of provincial health authorities bringing in German and other tests that are already working well." 

Mintz went to say that we don't need a "national strategy" but a provincial one, as the provinces are the ones "carrying the ball anyway." 

Kenney agreed with Mintz's tweet and added that he has given the go-ahead to Alberta's health officials, saying that they can use new tests, medications, and vaccines that have been approved by at least one credible peer country. 

"We won’t wait for Health CDA to play catch up," his tweet read. 

In the interview, he explained his statement in further detail.

"If we see a highly credible regulator of medications in a peer jurisdiction like the E.U., Australia, or the United States that has approved a test, a vaccine or medication, we should pursue that," he said. 

Kenney made it clear that he doesn't want "bureaucracy to get in the way" in terms of providing a speedy response to this public health crisis. 

In response to Kenney's approach, Dr. Theresa Tam, the Chief Public Health Officer of Canada, said in a press conference that she and her team do have significant concerns about some of the tests and drugs that have already been approved in other countries. 

"There are so many different tests in so many different countries," she said.

Thus, she believes it is important for Canada Health to review and vet these medications and vaccines that are coming out of other countries. 

Kenney believes that the E.U.'s regulatory body and the U.S.'s Food and Drug Administration wouldn't be approving medications that are dangerous. 

The Premier said that's why Alberta is participating in a clinical trial for an anti-malaria drug that President Trump has hailed as a gamechanger. 

"We are not going to feel constrained under our Public Health Act, waiting for Ottawa to do what other highly sophisticated jurisdictions are doing," he said. 

In the same interview, Kenney pointed out how Dr. Tam and her team allegedly told the public in January that there was no evidence of human-to-human transmission of the disease. 

"This is the same Dr. Tam telling us that we shouldn't close our borders to countries with a high level of infections," he added. 

As the pandemic goes on, countries from all over the world are racing against time to bring new medications, testing kits, and possible vaccines into the market.

And Kenney has made it clear that he is ready to go ahead without seeking Canada Health's approval.