Madam Speaker, before I begin, I would like to thank my constituents for electing me 14 months ago and for sending me here to be a voice for them and to work on their concerns on their behalf.
Who could have predicted that we would be in the situation we are currently in? However, my office has been open the entire time during this pandemic to serve, work for and help constituents. I am not able to attend events, but I have looked at ways to connect with constituents, to hear from them and to respond on their behalf. I have been seeing a lot of successes and a lot of work. I want to thank my staff both in Ottawa and Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge.
Canadians have made a lot of sacrifices for health and safety reasons and to control COVID. I know many people who have had COVID, including in my extended family. An uncle passed last year from it. We all have stories during this time, which has been difficult.
This has also been a time when people in my community have come together to help each other, whether it is staff, volunteers, friends, or the food bank that has gone the extra mile, putting in the hours to ensure no one goes hungry. There are the many organizations, including the Seniors Network, which is a number of organizations that meet to look at ways to support thousands of seniors in Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge.
Quinn Callander is an innovative 12-year-old boy from Maple Ridge. He began making ear guards with his 3D printer at home for health care workers. He is an inspiration for all of us.
Then there are all the front-line health workers. Their efforts day in and day out for over a year now is very much appreciated and valued.
I also want to thank the teachers in the schools who are continuing to instruct classes. I was in the classroom myself prior to getting elected. Kudos, and I thank them so much for what they are doing.
Who could have imagined that our world, our nation and our communities would be turned upside down? We have had the closure of maybe hundreds of thousands of businesses across our country from coast to coast to coast. We have seen our hospitality and tourism sectors decimated. I will be presenting a petition this week on behalf of the tens of thousands travel agents who have been really impacted.
On a flight to Ottawa, I sat with a flight attendant who told me of the thousands who had been given layoff notices over the weekend.
We have to wear masks. We have to deal with the closure of places of worship, which is important for so many of my constituents and people across the country. There is also an inability to gather with those we care for, or for weddings or for funerals for those who have passed. It is not wrong to talk about this, but it is right to want to see an end to it. We understand the health concerns. People are doing their part, but we do want to see an end to it.
It has been frustrating and disturbing to watch the johnny-come-lately approach of the Liberal government. I get tired of hearing the same talking points of the Liberals day in and day out. If we ask a question about the vaccine, the answer we get is that they have secured more vaccine per capita than anyone else in the world. It is not how many we have secured for the future, it is how many people are being vaccinated today, this month, and we are behind. We need two million dosages per week to reach the Liberal goal of September for vaccinations. This week alone, we have fallen 1.3 million vaccinations short alone. There is no doubt that eventually we will get the vaccines and then the Liberals will call an election or maybe sooner.
We did not have to be in the situation we are in right now. We are in it because of Liberal incompetence.
While the Liberals are betting all our chips on a Chinese vaccine from last year with CanSino, our allies were signing deals with AstraZeneca, Moderna and Pfizer, but Canada would not sign deals until months later. All Canadians are paying a price for this failure.
Let me read a message from Rocky. I received this about an hour ago as I was preparing some notes.
He said, “Good morning, Marc.
“Did I correctly hear that Canada did not even get their orders for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines until late? I would expect the manufacturer to fill orders based on the order in which they were purchased, as they came in, or else they could expect severe backlash if they were shown to be giving favourites on quantity. Did our country not know that, or did they expect special treatment because we are in Canada? That is downright juvenile and ignorant if they did.
“Second, why were all our vaccine eggs in one basket at the onset? I have more faith in Pfizer, which didn't send us any this week, than to get it done by CanSino. This is an unmitigated disaster, and I am so disappointed that while I've put our savings and house on the line for our business, the people we elected were unable to take off the political glasses long enough to see what was going on. This is infuriating.
“Then to blame it entirely on retooling—I was born at night, not last night.”
Our country is in collaboration with and working tightly with China, a country that is holding our two Michaels hostage, that has banned many of our exports, that is persecuting Uighurs and putting them in concentration camps, that is suppressing human rights in Hong Kong. What gives?
Recent news is that the Liberal-appointed Canadian ambassador to China, Dominic Barton, provided advice on sales of OxyContin to Canada and the United States. This is a very sensitive issue, especially in British Columbia, where I come from, and where thousands of people have died from overdoses. There were 500 overdoses in the community of Maple Ridge, which I represent, last year alone.
The Liberal COVID action has been pathetic. The health minister agreed to pay $237 million to Baylis Medical for 10,000 ventilators, even though the devices were not approved in any jurisdiction in the world. Baylis Medical is owned by Frank Baylis, a Liberal MP until the 2019 election. Why was there a fast track for Mr. Baylis' device, but no fast track for the rapid testing that every Canadian needs right now? We are finally getting the kits, but it was not fast and we have suffered from that. We are suffering the consequences today. Why is this former Liberal MP, with technology that has no track record of being approved and that has not been approved anywhere in the world, getting a special deal?
On top of that, he was able to pocket an extra $100 million by selling ventilators for twice as much as the competition. It is not right. What is going on? The Auditor General would like to know. In an unprecedented time with an unprecedented amount of money being spent, what is happening? We would like to know what is going on.
The Auditor General would like to know, but his office is being starved for funds. He is not able to do the reports. What happens when they start to dig into the finances? What do they start to see in the Liberal expenditures?
I know this next point is very old news. It is called the WE scandal, and I know it was last year. Half a million dollars was given for speaking fees for—