Trudeau spent $6.7 million on Calgary 'quarantine hotel' in 2022

Conservative MP Michelle Rempel Garner said the taxpayer dues spent to maintain this facility was 'legitimately flabbergasting' since the COVID quarantine requirement ended on August 9, 2021.

Trudeau spent $6.7 million on Calgary 'quarantine hotel' in 2022
The Canadian Press / Adrian Wyld
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According to federal government documents released Monday, the Trudeau Liberals paid more than $6 million to quarantine 15 individuals in 2022.

The order paper document released by Conservative MP Michelle Rempel Garner uncovered that the feds spent $6.7 million on a single quarantine facility in Calgary last year. The fees amounted to roughly $450,000 per quarantined individual.

Rempel Garner said the taxpayer dues spent to maintain this facility was "legitimately flabbergasting" since the COVID quarantine requirement ended on August 9, 2021.

Then Health Minister Patty Hajdu ordered the erection of quarantine hotels similar to the Westin Calgary Airport hotel during the COVID pandemic for Canadians travelling abroad as of January 2021.

According to the Quarantine Act, the minister could designate any place in Canada to act as a quarantine facility and amend or cancel the designation at her whim.

The outcome at the Westin hotel shows incompetency at the highest level, said Rempel Garner. "Waste of this magnitude […] shows that Trudeau doesn't have the capacity or willingness to get things under control."

The Justice Centre unsuccessfully challenged the constitutionality of quarantine hotels and facilities on January 18 after the Federal Court of Appeal dismissed its appeal on the basis the orders mandating the hotel stays were no longer in effect and, therefore, were no longer a "live controversy."

The Justice Centre said the court could have heard the appeal as a matter of public interest, but it exercised its discretion not to listen to the request.

In June 2021, the Federal Court of Canada ruled mandatory quarantine hotels unconstitutional at a traveller's expense if the feds do not preserve the right of those quarantining to seek counsel.

The Justice Centre maintains that the court's dismissal permits governments to continue with "future unprecedented draconian measures against Canadians without judicial checks and balances."

According to the Department of Public Safety, the Trudeau Liberals sent more than 28,000 people into quarantine hotels and facilities at public and personal expense. "To confine healthy Canadians into isolation facilities against their will was to treat them like criminals," added JCCF lawyer Allison Pejovic.

"[The ruling] permits government actions that severely violated Canadians' Charter rights to go unaddressed because of the passage of time and the government's choice not to continue those particular Charter-violating actions." 

On November 10, 2021, Canada's Auditor General released a report on the implementation and enforcement of quarantining air travellers at government-authorized hotels pending the results of their on-arrival COVID tests. It uncovered that the Public Health Agency of Canada spent $7 million to operate government-authorized hotels and $225,556,596 to house incoming travellers at designated quarantine facilities briefly.

Supplementary estimates tabled in Parliament revealed taxpayers paid the total expense of transport, room, board and medical care for hotel stay until February 22, 2021, as Cabinet charged costs directly to travellers under the Quarantine Act

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