Mr. Speaker, I rise to express appreciation on behalf of the NDP caucus and the member for Burnaby South for all those who have made a difference, and are making a difference, throughout this pandemic Parliament.
Fifteen months and 10 days ago, I rose in the House of Commons, on March 13, 2020, as you will recall, Mr. Speaker, to speak, as we suspended for what we thought would be a few weeks due to the COVID pandemic. Those few weeks have turned into over 15 months as we struggle through this unprecedented health crisis.
Fifteen months later, we mourn the loss of over 26,000 Canadians who have lost their lives through this terrible pandemic. Through it all, Canadians have rightfully paid tribute to the incredible courage and determination of health care workers across Canada, of doctors, of nurses, some of whom sacrificed their lives. We pay tribute to first responders and front-line workers, because we acknowledge they are helping all Canadians as we endeavour to get through this terrible pandemic.
Today we express our gratitude to all the people who made Parliament work during the pandemic. The technical support team proved that it is possible to have more than 300 MPs in a hybrid Parliament. Democracy carried on despite the pandemic.
We also extend sincere thanks to the clerks, including André Gagnon, who is retiring today.
We are very grateful to the administrators, analysts, drivers, pages, technicians, security guards, cleaning and maintenance staff and restaurant staff for their dedication during the crisis.
We cannot thank the interpreters and translators enough. In an officially bilingual Parliament, their work is essential. We know their working conditions were extremely difficult, even hazardous to their health, and their dedication is greatly appreciated. We also wish interpretation manager Sylvie Scott a happy retirement.
While we are thanking those who have made a difference through this pandemic, we must, of course, include MP staff from all parties, ministerial staff and public servants across Canada. I thank them for the sacrifices they have made during this pandemic.
Despite political spin, and I ask where Ottawa would be without political spin, the reality is that this pandemic has shown that 338 MPs have worked well together. We have met that high bar Canadians set to ensure their elected representatives work together in times of crisis. We have so much still to do to build a society where no one is left behind. The NDP caucus hopes to be back at work in Ottawa as soon as possible to continue that essential work in Parliament.
In the meantime, we wish the Speaker, all members of Parliament, their staff and their families health and safety in the coming weeks, as we continue to do the work on behalf of Canadians.