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Feds spent quarter-billion dollars on ventilators that didn’t work

Documents show the sole-sourced contract was given to CAE Inc, of Montreal, because of the “extreme urgency.”

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A Quebec company was given a quarter-billion taxpayer dollars to build 10,000 ventilators at the height of the COVID-19 crisis – but they didn’t work, say internal emails obtained by Blacklock’s Reporter.

Documents show the sole-sourced contract was given to CAE Inc, of Montreal, because of the “extreme urgency.”

“It was an emergency situation,” said Helene Gagnon, senior vice president of CAE, formerly Canadian Aviation Electronics.

“Canada gave contracts to companies to develop and manufacture ventilators. Certification was to be done once units were ready to be certified.”

Last April 9 the company was handed $282,500,000 to make the 10,000 ventilators. The company at the time said its medical devices “will help save lives of Covid-19 patients.”

But the product they produced repeatedly failed federal tests and were considered defective, said staff emails from the Prime Minister’s Office.

“Their vents are still severely defected,” Sabrina Kim, then-advisor to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, wrote September 10.

The company had received an undisclosed amount of the federal cash before production and now wanted more, wrote Kim.

“They have been asking the Department of Public Works to advance additional funds,” wrote Kim.

“CAE has already asked the department to advance additional funds while they continue to work on improving their vents due to previous delays in receiving approval, which neither the (department) nor (Health Canada) is strongly committed to doing.

“The Department of Industry believes we should continue to find ways to support the development. It is not an easy task that we have asked them to undertake and they have invested $40 million in this project to date.”

Records showed the CAE ventilators failed both an initial test and a second after they were rebuilt.

“CAE’s first delivery proved deficient with a series of manufacturing and software issues,” wrote Kim.

“The problems were serious enough that (Health Canada) removed their interim authorization so that no further sales or deliveries could take place until the problems were resolved.

“CAE subsequently resubmitted their ventilator to (Health Canada). CAE has been making calls to try and get (Health Canada) to speed up their review.”

Results of a second round of testing “continue to show significant shortcomings with patient safety implications that could require several weeks, if not months, to address the problems,” said the staff email.

Vice President Gagnon Wednesday said CAE ventilators finally passed federal inspection by year’s end.

“We are finalizing deliveries this week of 8,200,” said Gagnon, eleven months after the “extremely urgent” contract was awarded.

The Prime Minister’s Office and Department of Public Works did not comment.

“CAE designed its ventilator from scratch,” said Gagnon.

“It is a testament to Canadian innovation. Remember that in March last year the world was looking for ventilators urgently.”

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
Twitter.com/nobby7694

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard and the Vice-President: News Editor of Western Standard New Media Corp. He has served as the City Editor of the Calgary Sun and has covered Alberta news for nearly 40 years. dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Douglas Hendrickson

    March 7, 2021 at 7:42 am

    Skip a year
    I.e. go back a year.

  2. Douglas Hendrickson

    March 7, 2021 at 7:40 am

    In March,
    last year.

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News

Third pastor arrested in Alberta for breaking COVID lockdowns

Pastor Tim Stephens, of the Fairview Baptist Church, was arrested by city police on Sunday afternoon.

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A Calgary baptist preacher has become the third religious leader arrested in Alberta for breaking COVID-19 regulations over church attendance.

Pastor Tim Stephens, of the Fairview Baptist Church, was arrested by city police on Sunday afternoon. He had been the subject of repeated warnings from Alberta Health Services for having too many people at his services.

Earlier this month, on the church’s website, Stephens vowed to contiue services.

“Our actions are borne out of theological commitments to the Lordship of Christ and his instruction to the church as revealed in Scripture,” wrote Stephens.

“This, above all, is the reason why we have been gathering and will continue to gather … the consequences may be severe. But we stand before Christ rather than bend before consequences.”

Pastor James Coates, of the GraceLife Church, outside Edmonton, spent a month in jail after he was arrested by the RCMP for breaking lockdown regulations repeatedly. His case is still before the courts.

Last week, Pastor Art Pawlowski was arrested in Calgary for continuing to flout the regulations at his street chruch.

Calgary police at the AHS issued a joint statement saying Stephens was “arrested this afternoon for organizing a church service that was held today at Fairview Baptist Church, located at 230 78 Ave. S.E., that did not comply with public health orders, including masking, physical distancing and attendance limits. Police did not enter the church during today’s service.

“CPS has received repeated calls from concerned citizens regarding church services held at Fairview Baptist Church over the past several weeks. Last weekend, Pastor Stephens was proactively served a copy of the Court of Queen’s Bench Order obtained by AHS,” the statement said.

“The pastor acknowledged the injunction, but chose to move forward with today’s service, ignoring requirements for social distancing, mask-wearing and reduced capacity limits for attendees.

“For several weeks, AHS has attempted to work collaboratively with leadership at Fairview Baptist Church to address the ongoing public health concerns at the site. It is only when significant risk is identified or continued non-compliance is noted that AHS resorts to enforcement action.

“Once again, CPS acknowledges it is important to understand that law enforcement recognizes people’s desire to participate in faith-based gatherings as well as the right to protest. However, as we are still in a global pandemic, we all must comply with public health orders in order to ensure everyone’s safety and wellbeing.”

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
Twitter.com/nobby7694

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LETTER: Hypocrisy in high school rodeo approval

I see the hypocrisy Premier Kenney, can you?

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RE: Hinshaw grants approval for high school rodeos

Dr. Hinshaw approved school rodeos after Premier Kenney thought the rodeo near Bowden was a bad idea. It’s the mixed messaging these two are giving that is making me mad. A lockdown with very minimum exemptions is what I thought Hinshaw wanted, but apparently not. A school rodeo can bloody well wait until after the lockdown is completed!! Let up on the Whistle Stop Cafe then, Dr. Hinshaw. What a bully.

It’s a real kick by Hinshaw, at the Whistle Stop Cafe owner. With his cafe now in chains, while Dr. Hinshaw gives out approvals during this so-called circuit breaker lockdown.

I see the hypocrisy Premier Kenney, can you?

Steven Ruthven
Calgary, AB

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Opposition calls for crackdown on animal activists

A proposed private members bill, C-205, would amend the Health of Animals Act to punish trespassers on farms with a maximum $250,000 fine and/or a maximum two-year prison sentence.

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By EMMA GREGORY

A coalition of federal Conservatives, NDP and Bloc MPs want to increase punishment for animal rights activists trespassing on farms, because they might make the animals sick.

A proposed private members bill, C-205, would amend the Health of Animals Act to punish trespassers on farms with a maximum $250,000 fine and/or a maximum two-year prison sentence.

Chief Veterinary Officer for the Canadian Food Inspection Agency said there are no proven instances of an animal rights activists spreading a disease to animals while protesting at a farm.

“To our knowledge, there are not many documented cases from trespassing or from people having demonstrations. The one that I heard is the one in Quebec, but I’m not actually sure if there is evidence of transmission from the activists to the pigs. So in the scientific literature, we have not seen much evidence of transmission of disease from these activities,” said Dr. Jaspinder Komal, to the agriculture committee earlier this month.

The one instance Komal mentioned was an allegation made by Porgreg, a pig breeding facility in Saint Hyacinthe, Que.

The activists involved in that protest, members of the group Direct Action Everywhere, are charged under the Criminal Code with breaking and entering and mischief. Whether or not they gave pigs rotavirus is a matter before the court.

Rotaviruses are common amongst pig herds and typically are transmitted from pig to pig, via the fecal-oral route.

If a human were to spread a novel rotavirus to a pig it would be in a similar fashion.

When asked if she or any of her associates pooped in the barn, activist Jenny McQueen said, “No.”

Komal said the CFIA does not police activists.

“The CFIA enforces the Health of Animals Act and regulations which address disease and biological, chemical, physical agents that may affect animals or be transmitted to persons and in the same way to protect animals from these risks…CFIA inspectors are public officers they are not peace officers… In contrast, peace officers are generally police officers, their powers include the ability to detain or arrest individuals. Peace officers may also be armed where public officers such as inspectors are not,” he said.

There are several new provincial laws that seek to lay blame for disease outbreaks in farmed animals on activists.

The Canadian Biosecurity Guideline lists an intentional act of contaminating animals with a disease is considered a possible threat of bioterrorism.

Gregory is a Vancouver-based freelance reporter

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