Thank you, Mr. Chair and members of the committee.
My name is Audrey Deveault, and I chair the student union of Dawson College, in Westmount, Quebec. The union represents 10,500 students.
As students, we are encouraged to show curiosity, criticism, respect and involvement in terms of the world around us. We are taught that this is the foundation of a functional society.
On September 13, the fifth anniversary of the shooting at our school, we tried to get an audience with the Prime Minister in order to discuss his government's plan regarding the long-gun registry.
We had hoped that, as the Prime Minister, he would show a willingness to meet with us, his electors. Our invitation, phone calls and e-mails were ignored. We were not refused an audience; we were completely ignored. The way the government is rushing the passing of Bill C-19 and all the other bills is very worrisome.
At school, we are taught to be mindful and understanding. Yet, our elected representatives are exhibiting a closed and narrow-minded vision. We feel that society benefits more from a government that consultants individuals and groups.
A country cannot be governed for four years based on the platform of a three-week election campaign. We are worried by our government's refusal to hear from just over 300 groups that have data to share about the effectiveness of the long-gun registry.
We are worried by our government's blatant disregard for reports from doctors, nurses, psychologists and law enforcement officers.
We are worried by the fact that our government prefers to orchestrate a war that sows discord among Canadians, rather than to help us find common ground.
We are worried by the fact that, not only is our government refusing to talk to Canadians, but it is also using procedure to try to silence the opposition parties and its elected colleagues.
In light of the way the government is dealing with bills C-10 and C-19—coupled with the suppression of Statistics Canada and the elimination of the long-form census—we, as students, have a hard time holding back our skepticism when our elected representatives chose to govern blindly.
Statistics, research and science should be the pillars upon which policies are built. Students are urging all elected representatives to distance themselves from political games whose goal is to silence all those who do not agree with the ideologies of a controlling and power-hungry individual.
Do the right thing. Don't agree to pass Bill C-19 quickly so that it becomes law. Give yourselves and your voters the opportunity to thoroughly study Bill C-19 and its repercussions on public health. You were elected to listen, debate and be open to discussion.
Please, keep in mind that the country's students and youth are watching you and looking up to you for guidance on how society should work. Keep that in mind that over the coming days, months and years.