Madam Speaker, the motion I want to speak to has not been formally moved yet. I am not sure what that means from a procedural standpoint. I will proceed and the House can decide thereafter.
To all Quebeckers back home concerned about the spread of a virus that may, in some cases, be life-threatening, I wish them courage.
I wish a speedy recovery to all those who will get sick in the coming weeks, including, of course, the Prime Minister's wife.
It is also my wish that we deal with this challenge before us swiftly, wisely and carefully. I ask that we restrain our propensity for playing politics and instead become protectors of the common good. That is what the Bloc Québécois will do.
Nevertheless, the suspension of Parliament should not mean and will not mean that the Bloc Québécois will be less present or less vigilant with regard to anything that might be detrimental to the interests of Quebec. The Bloc will continue to offer proposals to better serve those interests.
In light of how vigorously and quickly the coronavirus is spreading, numerous possible responses have been proposed. Time will tell which responses were appropriate. We will have to learn from this experience.
One thing that seems to have been handled poorly and inconsistently is border crossings: protocols, equipment, training, detection, referrals, quarantine and, in some cases, some level of shutdown.
If it cannot be avoided, accelerating an economic slowdown—I realize that is an oxymoron—recession or crisis is a cure that is worse than the disease in some ways. History has also taught us that the earliest victims of a crisis are the most vulnerable members of society.
Members can see why the Bloc Québécois is pushing for major accommodations in the employment insurance system and for changes that give seniors in the regions more purchasing power as soon as possible. Parliament may not be sitting, but the Bloc Québécois will be watching closely and speaking up. We were elected to be here and stand up for our people. We understand why this has to happen, we accept it, and we were part of the conversation that led to this morning's motion. However, we will insist that lost sitting days be made up, especially given the minority government context.
The coronavirus pandemic will leave an indelible mark on our planet, on Quebec and on Canada. Our response to the pandemic will also have a long-lasting economic impact. Let us therefore choose wisely.
Finally, it is important that compassion be the main principle guiding our decisions and actions. I remain committed to working to mitigate, as much as possible, the impact and suffering this crisis might have on Quebeckers.