Question Period: Cuts to Public Health Agency of Canada and emergency preparedness

Ms. Libby Davies (Vancouver East, NDP): Mr. Speaker, the minister is not answering the question. A 22% budget cut for the Public Health Agency and 500 employees laid off across the country is hardly good preparation for emergent health issues now before us. The fact is, Canadians count on PHAC to protect them from serious pandemics. With EV-D68 now confirmed in Canada, concerns about Ebola in Africa, Canadians have the right to question the priorities of this minister.

Why is the minister decreasing the agency’s capacity to deal with public health emergencies?

Hon. Rona Ambrose (Minister of Health, CPC): Mr. Speaker, there is a reason that Dr. Margaret Chan, the head of the World Health Organization, called Canada one of the first countries when there is a public health outbreak around the world. It is because Canada’s Public Health Agency has a world-leading record on dealing with pandemics, whether there are here at home, like H1N1, or abroad, like Ebola, Canada is at the forefront of working with the international community to deal with the Ebola issue.