Mr. Speaker, that was an excellent speech by my colleague from Alberta.
Essentially, he told us that our most important job here in the House is to be here for Canadians and implement effective measures to fight the pandemic.
That is exactly what we are talking about today. Basically, the motion before us is asking the Standing Committee on Health to do everything it can to ensure that the government's response works. We have to implement effective measures to fight the pandemic and be transparent.
The issue we are tackling today is the lack of transparency and effective measures to fight the pandemic. Would every member agree that we are here in Parliament to make sure the government helps businesses?
One such business is Autocar Excellence in Bellechasse, which has some beautiful brand-new buses in Bellechasse but cannot use them for obvious reasons. Another is Prevost in Sainte-Claire, maker of those very buses, for which demand is very low now that we are in the second wave.
Our role is to mitigate the impact of the pandemic, especially on health. The Standing Committee on Health has important work to do, and that is what we are asking of it today. Unfortunately, it appears that the Liberals are trying to hide something. If they are so proud of how they have handled the pandemic, they should open up the books so we can see what we can improve and how.
The fact is, when the Conservatives sounded the alarm back in January about what lay ahead, the Minister of Health said that closing the border would not be a very effective tool for fighting the pandemic, and yet that is how the virus first got here, across the border. From day one, the government has been caught with its pants down, as we like to say back home.
What we want is to be able to respond better. In the first wave, the measures that were implemented were improvised and took away Canadians' motivation to stay at work.
The Liberals then started giving contracts to their friends. Yesterday, we had a vote on the WE Charity scandal. When the Liberals felt things starting to heat up at committee, they shut down Parliament and the finance minister resigned. Yesterday, they made the ultimate threat that they would trigger a general election. As my colleague stated, the Liberals were willing to hold an election to cover up a scandal.
We want to dig deep by demanding transparency and dealing with the pandemic efficiently. That is our job as parliamentarians. From the Bloc Québécois to the NDP, MPs are saying today that they want to work together to ensure that the government's response is effective.
In its throne speech this fall, the government listed many priorities. Once again, however, it was all over the map, with no clear proposals and nothing about efficient testing measures.
We want efficient testing. Right now, people are being diagnosed with COVID-19 and having to stay home. The faster we can identify these cases, the faster they can go back to contributing to the economy. I am thinking of parents in particular.
No one is talking about all the indirect effects of the pandemic, such as loneliness among seniors and many other people. That is why the government must adopt the most effective response possible. We Conservatives and the members of the other opposition parties are prepared to make the effort to implement effective measures. Unfortunately, as I was saying, we are up against the less than transparent Liberal Party, which appears to have something to hide.
This week, it was reported that friends of the Liberal Party obtained contracts to supply medical equipment at almost twice the going rate. We understand why the Liberals would want to hide these types of things.
There are lives at stake, and there are also colossal amounts being invested in the fight against the pandemic. That is one more reason why we should be vigilant and implement effective measures. The Liberals' mismanagement of the pandemic makes the opposition’s work all the more important.
Unfortunately, the parties' hands are tied because the Liberals seem to be hiding something.
In today's motion, we are calling for effective tools. Alberta, Quebec and the other provinces need targeted measures, such as testing, effective vaccines or treatments, so that their floundering health care systems can meet this challenge.
Back when the Liberals were saying that there was no danger, they sent PPE to China. That is pretty outrageous. They sent hundreds of thousands of masks, gloves and gowns from our stockpile to another country. A few weeks or months later, we had a shortage. On top of that, we used to have an early pandemic alert system, but it was shut down before the pandemic.
Not only did the government not have the right tools in place, but it also implemented measures that turned out to be counterproductive. That is why it is important to let the Standing Committee on Health do its job. Starting now, how can we work constructively to make sure the government's pandemic response is effective and supports businesses, families, the health care system and the provinces?
We think keeping the border closed is important. Once again this week, American billionaires came over to hang out in COVID-19 hot spots. How could Canada's Minister of Health let these people in and put others in danger, when Canadians are being told to stay home, limit their activities, and self-isolate when they return to the country? We do not want a double standard. These are legitimate questions that opposition members are asking themselves. We want answers from the government, but it is like talking to a brick wall.
When it comes to mask wearing, the government initially said that it might not be effective. In fact, the government actually advised against wearing masks, but we now know that wearing a mask gives us the best chances to stay safe. In fact, what we want to do at the Standing Committee on Health is give ourselves the best chances to have effective measures.
We want to speed up testing. I will come back to that because it is important. As my colleague was saying, many countries have a host of mechanisms to allow people to get a quick diagnosis and take the necessary measures when they have reason to believe they contracted COVID-19. Time is money, as the saying goes. The government's slow response is costing us a lot of time.
I am asking my Liberal colleagues if they are prepared to work with us on fighting the pandemic and taking effective measures. We are prepared to do the work. We are reaching out to the government and saying, let's work together. These are exceptional times. We are in a health crisis. It is time to pull together, work together and have a Parliament that works.
Why are the Liberals rejecting our offer of help to turn this pandemic into nothing but a bad memory?