Statement from the NDP regarding the challenge of coronavirus in Canada

Context : Statements by Ministers

M. Peter Julian (New Westminster—Burnaby, NPD): Madame la Présidente, nos pensées aujourd'hui sont avec Mme Gregoire, ainsi qu'avec les 155 autres Canadiens qui sont atteints du coronavirus partout au Canada.

Transcription in progress / Transcription en marche

In this place, Canadians often see where our parties differ: the differences we have, the questions we ask in question period. What Canadians often see is the variety of opinions around this House of Commons.

However, today what we see is all parties and all members of Parliament coming together with the same mission. That mission is to confront the challenge of coronavirus in Canada, to do our part to minimize the dangers of this virus going further in the public sphere.

C'est une unanimité qui arrive rarement, mais qui est importante dans le cadre d'un défi auquel tout le Canada est confronté. C'est important que les députés se réunissent pour dire qu'ils vont collaborer.

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 that 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. As we travel across the country, the reality of our parliamentary life is that it is possible, 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.

Il est clair que nous devons collaborer et suivre les officiers de la santé qui ont dit de façon très éloquente l'importance de maintenir une distance sociale pour faire en sorte que le virus ne se répande pas.

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 often 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 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.

Notre rôle est d'être présents dans nos circonscriptions pour aider les gens et faire en sorte que nous puissions contribuer à cette lutte qu'il faut mener contre le virus.

We will do our part. Members of Parliament are speaking with one voice today to say that we will do our part.

Nous allons collaborer et nous l'affirmons de manière unanime aujourd'hui. Nous allons prendre une petite pause pour contribuer à la lutte contre le 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 help maintain this infrastructure that helps to serve Canadian democracy so well. We will miss them, but we will know we will back, and we know as well that Canadians will beat this virus. When we reconvene we will be able to celebrate that fact.

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