A relative of a person who died of COVID-19 reacts at a crematorium in Jammu, India, Sunday, April.25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Channi Anand

A relative of a person who died of COVID-19 reacts at a crematorium in Jammu, India, Sunday, April.25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Channi Anand

Opposition parties support sending COVID-19 aid to India; no specifics from Canada

U.S. President Joe Biden pledged to send help to the country of nearly 1.4 billion people

The leaders of the federal Conservatives and NDP say Canada should send aid to India as it struggles with a deadly surge in COVID-19 cases, while the Liberal government has yet to announce any details of how it plans to help.

U.S. President Joe Biden pledged to send help to the country of nearly 1.4 billion people, where hospitals are reporting that they are running out of oxygen to treat patients.

The White House has said it will send raw materials needed to make Covishield, the version of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine produced at the Serum Institute of India, along with therapeutics, rapid-testing kids, ventilators and potentially oxygen.

Procurement Minister Anita Anand said Friday Canada will “stand ready” with personal protective equipment, ventilators and “any items that might be useful,” but as of Monday the federal government had yet to provide more specifics.

The Indian government is scrambling to source medical products including liquid oxygen and oxygen concentrators — a medical device that concentrates oxygen from ambient air — said Ajay Bisaria, India’s high commissioner to Canada.

“We were ready for a big wave, but this became a tsunami nothing like India’s ever seen before, and nothing like we saw in the first wave,” Bisaria said in an interview.

He said Anand has been “very helpful” in connecting diplomatic officials in Ottawa, Toronto and Vancouver to manufacturers, but the degree to which Canada can help remains uncertain.

“Canada has some technologies where it makes ventilators and oxygen concentrators. With bedside oxygen concentrators, we’re not very clear about whether they’re manufactured in Canada or they’re imported from other sources in the U.S.,” Bisaria said.

“We haven’t got to any drug manufacturers yet.”

In the meantime, Indo-Canadian community organizations have “rushed in” to help, he added. The Indian Red Cross Society has been authorized to handle donations related to COVID-19 from groups abroad.

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole said he supports sending aid but also called for tougher travel restrictions. Canada announced last week a 30-day suspension of all flights from India and Pakistan, but O’Toole said the government should take a stronger stance.

“Let’s help our friends in India, but let’s also have an approach of stopping international flights until we can get a handle on keeping the variants out of Canada,” he said.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said India’s situation is “catastrophic” and Canada needs to act as a global citizen, because when the novel coronavirus spreads badly in one region, it affects others.

Early in the pandemic O’Toole was critical of the Liberal government sending personal protective equipment to China, but he said that was because Canada didn’t have enough of its own supply, which is no longer the case.

His party points to the decision as one of the government’s early failings in the pandemic. The Tories say Canada lacked an adequate stockpile of masks and gloves needed by health-care workers to battle the virus.

On the question of sending aide to India, Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet expressed support for doing so, saying the pandemic is taking a global toll and “sometimes we have to behave like a planet.”

Canada says it has procured 2.7 billon items of personal protective equipment, with 1.5 billion pieces already delivered for use.

READ MORE: Canada to halt direct flights from India, Pakistan for 30 days due to COVID variant concerns

— With files from Christopher Reynolds

Stephanie Taylor, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

CoronavirusIndia

Just Posted

Comox Valley medical clinics are all open, including the availability to book face-to-face care (i.e. for a physical examination) as per your clinic’s protocol (most clinics operate a “virtual care first” policy). ADOBE STOCK IMAGE
Northern Health launches virtual primary care clinic

Northerners without a family physician or nurse practitioner will now have access to primary care

Demonstrators lined Hwy 16 May 5 to mark the National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. (Deb Meissner photo)
VIDEO: Smithers gathering marks Red Dress Day honouring missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls

Approximately 70 people lined Hwy 16, drumming, singing and holding up placards

“Skeena,” by John Hudson and Paul Hanslow is one of five fonts in the running to become the default for Microsoft systems and Office programs. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Font named after Skeena River could become the next Microsoft default

One of the five new fonts will replace Calibri, which has been Microsoft’s default since 2007

The road to Telegraph Creek (Hwy 51) was closed April 15 due to a washout. On May 4, the road was opened to light-duty passenger vehicles during specific times. (BC Transportation and Infrastructure/Facebook)
Telegraph Creek Road opens for light-duty vehicles

Road has been closed since April 15 due to a washout

Marc Kielburger, screen left, and Craig Kielburger, screen right, appear as witnesses via video conference during a House of Commons finance committee in the Wellington Building in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 28, 2020. The committee is looking into Government Spending, WE Charity and the Canada Student Service Grant. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
BREAKING: Trudeau didn’t violate conflict rules over WE Charity, watchdog says

Federal ethics commissioner Mario Dion found that former finance minister Bill Morneau did violate the rules

Commissioner Austin Cullen listens to introductions before opening statements at the Cullen Commission of Inquiry into Money Laundering in British Columbia in Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. money laundering inquiry could have lessons for other provinces: lawyer

4 reports concluded the flow of hundreds of millions of dollars in illegal cash linked to organized crime and the drug trade impacted the province’s real estate, luxury vehicle and gaming sectors

Police investigate a fatal 2011 shooting in a strip mall across from Central City Shopping Centre, which was deemed a gang hit. The Mayor’s Gang Task Force zeroed in on ways to reduce gang involvement and activity. (File photo)
COVID-19 could be a cause in public nature of B.C. gang violence: expert

Martin Bouchard says the pandemic has changed people’s routines and they aren’t getting out of their homes often, which could play a role in the brazen nature of shootings

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Tinder, an online dating application that allows users to anonymously swipe to like or dislike other’s profiles. (Black Press Media files)
B.C. man granted paternity test to see if Tinder match-up led to a ‘beautiful baby’

The plaintiff is seeking contact with the married woman’s infant who he believes is his child

Nurse Tami Arnold prepares to administer a COVID-19 vaccine. (Kareem Elgazzar/AP)
B.C. adults 30+ now eligible to get vaccinated against COVID-19

Health officials made the announcement Wednesday afternoon

Ancient Forest Alliance campaigner Andrea Inness walks beside an enormous western red cedar stump in a BCTS-issued cutblock in the Nahmint Valley. (PHOTO COURTESY TJ WATT)
Watchdog: logging practices put Vancouver Island old growth, biodiversity at risk

Forest Practices Board has issues with BC Timber Sales practices in Nahmint Valley near Port Alberni

Erik Christian Oun, who worked for the Coquitlam school district, has had his teaching licence suspended for half a year. (Pixabay)
B.C. teacher suspended after calling students ‘cutie’ and ‘sweetheart’ in online messages

Erik Oun’s licence has been suspended for half a year, a decision made by the B.C. Commissioner for Teacher Regulation

An Israeli attack helicopter launches flares as he flies over the Israeli Gaza border, southern Israel, Thursday, May 13, 2021. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
Singh calls for halt on Canadian arms sales to Israel as violence escalates in region

Government data shows Canada sent $13.7 million in military goods and technology to Israel in 2019

Most Read