Mexican ambassador slams vaccine ‘selfishness’ following Tories’ comments

Mexico’s ambassador to Canada slammed vaccine “selfishness” in a tweet that tagged two prominent Conservatives on Tuesday, just hours after repeated exchanges in the House of Commons questioned why Mexico may access a vaccine before Canada.

“Mexico has worked hard to ensure equitable access to vaccines for all. We believe a pandemic is a time to promote solidarity, rather than showing selfishness, which could endanger us all,” tweeted Mexican Ambassador to Canada Juan José Gómez Camacho.

He tagged Conservative MP Michelle Rempel Garner and Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole in the tweet, after their repeated questioning about Mexico’s vaccination plans seemed to strike a chord.

“Mr. Speaker, based on the prime minister’s response to the leader of the Opposition, I want to clarify that Mexicans will be getting the COVID vaccine before Canadians,” said Rempel Garner during Tuesday’s question period.

Read more: Despite ‘best vaccine portfolio’, Canada still reliant on other nations for supply: Trudeau

Citing a Reuters report that detailed the Mexican government’s plan to try to vaccinate its citizens starting in December, she went on to ask two more questions, all emphasizing that Mexico could see its citizens being vaccinated before Canadians.

“What the minister is saying is that Mexicans will get vaccinated before Canadians,” Rempel said in one question.

In the next, she went on to ask for the “reason why Mexicans will be vaccinated before Canadians.”

O’Toole had also mentioned Mexico when he pressed the prime minister on vaccines during Tuesday’s question period, though he included other countries’ vaccine plans in his line of questioning.

“Today, [the prime minister] admitted we are going to be behind many countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom and Germany. Reuters is even reporting that Mexico will receive a vaccine before Canadians. How many more months will it take to flatten the curve because the prime minister has been unable to rapidly secure a vaccine?” O’Toole asked.

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Global News reached out to O’Toole’s office on Wednesday to see if he had any concerns about Gómez Camacho’s tweet, or about the line of questioning that took place yesterday.

“Mexicans should be proud of the fact they will soon be able to access the COVID vaccine,” replied O’Toole’s office in an emailed statement.

“We wish Canadians had the same opportunity. The reality is that Canada is behind the U.S., U.K, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Mexico, Brazil, India, and Indonesia for vaccine procurement. That’s over 2.5 billion people or one-third of the population of the planet that is ahead of Canada for a vaccine. Where is Justin Trudeau’s plan?”

Click to play video 'Coronavirus: Trudeau says lack of domestic vaccine production the reason for wait' 2:00 Coronavirus: Trudeau says lack of domestic vaccine production the reason for wait

Coronavirus: Trudeau says lack of domestic vaccine production the reason for wait

Speaking Tuesday, Trudeau attributed the potential delay to a lack of domestic capacity in Canada to produce vaccines.

“One of the things to remember is Canada no longer has any domestic production capacity for vaccines,” Trudeau said, speaking to reporters outside his home.

“We used to have it decades ago, but we no longer have it. Countries like the United States, Germany and the U.K. do have domestic pharmaceutical facilities, which is why they’re obviously going to prioritize helping their citizens first.”

Read more: Two shots. A waiting period. Why the coronavirus vaccine won’t be a quick fix

The prime minister said the government plans to shore up its domestic vaccine production capacity in order to avoid being in this position in the future.

“We never want to be caught short again, without the ability to support Canadians directly,” Trudeau said.

“That will be in place in the coming years. If ever there is another pandemic we will not be caught on the wrong foot again.”

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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