Furey stresses collaboration with other provinces ahead of vaccine plan, federal economic update

·3 min read
Furey stresses collaboration with other provinces ahead of vaccine plan, federal economic update
Government of Newfoundland and Labrador
Government of Newfoundland and Labrador

Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Andrew Furey is calling for collaboration between Canada's premiers and the federal government as the country moves toward a distribution plan for a COVID-19 vaccine.

Furey, during an appearance on CBC's Rosemary Barton Live Sunday, spoke about his conversation with fellow Canadian Premiers and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau — calling the conversation a 'good, healthy, informative call' — and stressed the importance of working together through the pandemic.

"We need to be working collectively as a country, as Canadians," Furey said. "This is a disease that knows no boundaries."

"In terms of jurisdictional arguments, I'm less concerned about that," he added. "I'm more concerned about working in a collaborative fashion to ensure that Canadians get protected, and the most vulnerable within the Canadian population are protected first and foremost."

I'm very comfortable and confident that we have some of the best health care workers across the country here in Newfoundland and Labrador. - Andrew Furey

As COVID-19 hotspots grow in areas like Ontario and Alberta, Furey said the safest way to tackle vaccine distribution would perhaps be per capita — but said the countrys most vulnerable should be a top priority.

"We know now that there are populations and segments of the population that are more impacted than others with respect to COVID-19," he said.

"I think it's very important and crucial that we follow the evidence there. And I would strongly argue for a pan-Canadian guideline on who gets the vaccine, obviously with some modifications for local jurisdictions."

Watch: Premier Andrew Furey talks the Atlantic Bubble, a COVID-19 vaccine and more on Rosemary Barton Live:

In a moment of openness from the Premier, who has previously worked as an orthopedic surgeon, Furey said he has had moments during the pandemic where he thought about returning to the medical community.

"I was on the front lines of the COVID unit here in St. John's. I saw first hand those moments of anxiety... and saw the nurses and the staff and the orderlies and the doctors show up not knowing what to expect," he said.

"As I drive by the hospital every day, I wonder 'Should I be laying down the MHA pin and picking up the stethoscope again for the short term?' But I'm very comfortable and confident that we have some of the best health care workers across the country here in Newfoundland and Labrador."

Furey watching economic update "with great interest"

Ahead of the federal government's 2020 economic update, Furey said he will be focused on announcements since the province projected a $2.1 billion deficit earlier this year.

"I'll be watching with great interest," he said. "For my particular province, and I'm sure this is consistent with Alberta and Saskatchewan in terms of an energy sector, we're looking at sectors that could be supported in other ways."

Furey said he will also be looking for updates relating to child care, an industry the Premier has been focused on since his leadership nomination.

"It's something that's near and dear to our heart, and I believe it's a good tool to emerge from this economic crisis," he said.

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