" Ladies and gentlemen, mesdames et messieurs, while I wish we could meet face to face, I am grateful for the technology that makes it possible for me to at least get together with you virtually.
For the last several months, I’ve been presiding over meetings with Members of Parliament, so I have to admit, it’s a nice change to be looking at different faces!
Since last March, we have been contending with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, and as a result we are living a strange and sometimes worrying reality.
Like your families, your children, your friends and your colleagues, you’ve all had to face some considerable challenges.
Perhaps you or someone you love has become ill with the virus, and I can appreciate the worry and anxiety that this would add to your lives.
I know it hasn’t been an easy time, which is why I want to tell you that I have been very impressed with the way the team at the House Administration has adapted to the professional and personal challenges created by the pandemic.
Over the past six months, you’ve continued to support the Members in their work. Whether you’re working from home, or are coming into the parliamentary precinct, you have all helped Parliament carry on.
I understand that some of you have also had to shoulder new responsibilities, and I know that your managers have greatly appreciated your flexibility and your goodwill.
Things are looking different at the House of Commons these days, of course. Virtual committee meetings, hybrid sittings of the House, physical distancing and masks are, at least for now, the new normal.
But humans are nothing if not adaptable, and it is a source of great pride to me that together we have imagined, then created, a way to ensure that the Members of Parliament would continue to represent their constituents during this trying time.
It’s true that the current technology has enabled us to organise virtual meetings that bring together Members from across the country. But all things considered, it’s you, the Administration team, that is at the heart of the success of this endeavour.
You’ve helped the House of Commons do its job by doing yours, even as you dealt with your own struggles, and I am truly grateful for your talents, your perseverance and most of all, your dedication to our parliamentary community. Thank you for all you are doing, and for what I know you will continue to do.
Finally, I ask you to take care of yourselves and each other, and I hope that someday soon we will be able to meet in person.