Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
Minister, welcome to you and your team.
I think I can speak for every MP on this committee, and all the MPs in the House of Commons. We had so many constituents who were stranded all over the world due to the pandemic. I can speak for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour. We had young firefighters in Peru, we had seniors struggling aboard the MS Zaandam, and I think, again, we can all agree that it was a very challenging few months.
Back home, we had families who were, rightly, very scared and nervous for their loved ones. The borders were closing, airlines were shutting down and it was a scary time. I want to take a moment to thank Global Affairs staff, consular staff and your team. Specifically, I want to thank your Parliamentary Secretary, Rob Oliphant, and his team.
Our office, much like the offices of the other 337 MPs, was inundated with these calls and requests from these frantic parents and constituents. What your group managed to do was absolutely incredible. I also want to thank my constituency staff for the work that they did, basically working from home. It was absolutely incredible.
Thinking about just how difficult this process was with all hands on deck, what was it like negotiating safe passage and eventual disembarking of passengers to get these Canadians home from dozens of countries from around the world? Tell us a little bit about some of the challenges that you and your amazing team encountered.