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View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
Madam Speaker, today our thoughts are with Ms. Grégoire and the 155 other Canadians across the country who have contracted the coronavirus.
In this place, Canadians often see how our parties differ, and the differences we have. They see the questions we ask each other in question period. What Canadians often see is the variety of opinions within this House of Commons.
Today, however, we see all parties and all members of Parliament coming together with the same mission. That mission is to confront the challenge of coronavirus in Canada and to do our part to minimize the dangers of this virus going further in the public sphere.
Unanimity is rare, but it is important when we face a challenge that affects all of Canada. It is important that members come together and confirm that we will work collaboratively.
Canadians come together when there are challenges. That has always been the hallmark of our character. Today, as we know, public health officials told us that it is important for members of Parliament, like everyone else in Canada, to maintain the social distancing that is so important to assure we do not see a rapid multiplication of the virus.
Our health officers across the country, and I would like to give a shout-out to Dr. Bonnie Henry from British Columbia, have been tirelessly working to ensure Canadians understand the implications of not having that social distancing. The reality of our parliamentary life is that we travel across the country. If we did not take this hiatus, we could have members of Parliament bringing the virus back to Ottawa, or taking the virus from Ottawa to their home constituencies.
We definitely need to co-operate and follow the advice of health officials, who have made it very clear that it is vital to maintain social distancing to prevent the virus from spreading.
In the meantime, we will be where we should be. We will be in our ridings assisting our constituents, pressing to make sure those workers who have to make the difficult choice between putting food on the table or going to work, when they know they should be in self-quarantine, are taken care of. We will be making sure that we are absolutely funding and investing in a health care system that is able to meet the challenges of the virus. We also have to make sure indigenous communities are not left aside, as they have been in past pandemics, and that all the resources they need are available to them.
Our role is to be in our ridings assisting the public and ensuring that we contribute to the efforts to fight the virus.
We will do our part. Members of Parliament are speaking with one voice today to say that we will do our part.
Today we are unanimous in saying that we are going to work together. We are going to take a little break to help fight the virus.
To conclude, on behalf of the NDP caucus, I would like to thank the employees and staff, the administration on Parliament Hill, the security guards who are so brave and courageous, and the staff who maintain this infrastructure that serves Canadian democracy so well. We will miss them, but we know we will be back.
We know as well that Canadians will beat this virus. We will be able to celebrate that fact when we reconvene.
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