‘We Missed the Boat’ on Containing COVID-19, Senator Says

March 30, 2020 Updated: April 1, 2020

A longtime Conservative senator says Canada is suffering the consequences of being slow to close the border and failing to implement strict screening procedures amidst the COVID-19 pandemic—moves he recommended in early January.

“I thought at the time—and now history has proven that I was on the right side—that we should have created a bubble for Canada back in January and protected our borders from the importation of this virus,” Leo Housakos told The Epoch Times.

“I mean, it’s only logical if you’re trying to contain a virus … When it’s all said and done, we missed the boat on that.”

In January and February, Housakos adds, he was also among the many parliamentarians who called for a ban on flights between Canada and China—where the outbreak began—as well as flights from Iran and Italy, both of which have been hit hard by the pandemic.

But those calls were ignored by the government, he said. In early February, Ottawa drew praise from a spokesperson for China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs for not following the Trump administration’s move to enact a travel ban.

“[Some] Western governments, for whatever reason, do not want to hurt the feelings of the Chinese government,” Housakos said.

On March 16, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau finally announced that Canada’s border would be closed to all foreign nationals except U.S. citizens, with flights restricted to four major airports with adequate screening capacity. On March 28, flights were banned for anyone with symptoms of COVID-19.

“They made a full flip-flop … when they realized that we were actually importing the virus through our airports and through flights not just from China, and not just from Iran, not just from Italy, but from airport hubs around the world. Because viruses, of course, are very, very fluid and they’re very, very mobile, and they’re very transmissible,” Housakos said.

“There was a lax approach in January and February, and there was a lax approach up until mid-March, when everyone pressed the alarm button.”

Beijing has been widely accused of covering up the coronavirus outbreak, which appeared in Wuhan in early December but wasn’t publicly admitted to by the regime until six weeks later—giving the virus ample time to spread across China and around the world. Doctors who tried to warn of the danger were silenced and charged with “spreading rumours.”

The origin of the virus has so far gone unanswered. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has floated several different theories, the latest being that the U.S. military introduced the virus to China—widely seen as an attempt to avoid blame.

This prompted U.S. President Donald Trump to push back by referring to it as the “Chinese virus.”

The Epoch Times now refers to the novel coronavirus, which causes the disease COVID-19, as the CCP virus because the Party’s coverup and mismanagement allowed the virus to spread throughout China and create a global pandemic.

“The name holds the CCP accountable for its wanton disregard of human life and consequent spawning of a pandemic that has put untold numbers in countries around the world at risk, while creating widespread fear and devastating the economies of nations trying to cope with this disease,” an Epoch Times editorial states.

“The truth of the matter is you can’t rely on information that comes out of China,” said Housakos.

“There’s no doubt that if the Chinese were a reliable ally and partner, I believe we would have been better equipped in understanding the severity of the problem, and collectively the world [would have been able to] take measures to protect people and resolve the problem.”