Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for Mission—Matsqui—Fraser Canyon.
When we come together in this place, it should be to help the people of our Confederation. We meet to scrutinize each other's decisions, our policies, our actions and the use of money that the people we represent have earned.
In my time in office, I have watched the power of this place be willfully abdicated to men who seek their own enrichment, affirm their vanity or hide their incompetence and ignorance. I have watched them lean on those here with honeyed words, promises of riches or position or, if that fails, threats. I have watched many here lose the sense of gravity of the power bestowed upon us by the people we represent.
We must put our people first, all of them, regardless of political affiliation, ability to curry favour or religious belief. We must be radically compassionate, radically selfless and radically courageous. I have watched those we represent lose faith or, worse, lose an understanding of the power they hold, and that must end.
During this dramatically transitional time in the history of our nation, the choices each of us makes from this day forward will determine the power of this place, the unity of our country and the well-being of our people. In this place, courage has been lacking. Yesterday's Speech from the Throne was no different.
In the last several years, we have watched our country lose its economic footing. Earlier this year, protests shut down Canada's rail systems. I have watched the people I represent fall into despair as their primary industry came under attack. I have also watched thousands of Canadians lose their lives and millions more lose their jobs, their mental health, their homes and their families because of the collective failure of those on the government side of the House to have the courage to challenge power, to question the status quo and not to acquiesce to a man who has long ago lost the moral authority to govern.
This year, after the rail blockades, with the reports of a new infectious disease emerging in China, this man was comfortable telling Canadians that there was no person-to-person transmission in the spread of COVID-19. His MPs nodded and clapped. The result was Canadians losing their lives and their jobs. He had no compunction when telling Canadians that border control measures and masks did not work, and his MPs nodded and clapped. The result was Canadians losing their lives and their jobs. He sent critical supplies of personal protective equipment to China when we had a shortage. His MPs nodded and clapped. The result was Canadians losing their lives and their jobs.
He allowed for the shuttering of the federal early warning system for public health dangers. He failed to develop a process that would allow for the full but timely review of rapid and at-home tests for the novel coronavirus, and his MPs have not pressed this issue. The result has been Canadians losing their lives and their jobs. He has not been transparent about his plans for the procurement and distribution of a potential vaccine for the COVID-19 virus.
While he was doing this, he was awarding contracts to a charity run by two guys who gave his family members hundreds of thousands of dollars in celebrity appearance fees and who did a super woke video on MTV Cribs, which showcased their charity as a cultish mess of celebrity appropriation of African culture of the worst order. It is no doubt that this contributed to his inability to secure a seat on the UN Security Council, because the picture the international community now has of him is as a dilettantish practitioner of blackface.
When my colleagues were able to compel documents related to the scandal, even though he had shuttered Parliament, he went one step further and prorogued this place, that is, fully shut it down to prevent the rest of Parliament from questioning him. He also lost his finance minister under a cloud of scandal. That was five weeks ago.
During that time, Canada lost more lives, more jobs and wobbled listlessly, as the world around us changed and became more unstable. His fig leaf for this action was to provide a new vision for the country, a plan, but he did not deliver. His throne speech took no responsibility for the failures he made in preaching wrong information, and not just preaching it, but doubling down on it and dismissing any questioning of the information that he was providing as wrong thought.
The Prime Minister took no responsibility for that, and he has no plan and presented no plan to fix these systems that allowed Canadians to be told that there was no person-to-person transmission of the virus, that masks should not be worn and that border controls were racist. There were no plans to move hell and high water to get rapid testing technologies reviewed. There was no mention of the relief for the people in my riding who work in the energy sector.
The speech was panned by the AFN national chief last night. There was no action towards reconciliation. The Liberal Party has promised child care since 1997, and last night on national television his minister could not tell Canadians how many spots the government proposed to make, in what parts of the country, under what program, by when and how much it would cost. The same goes for lowering drug costs for Canadians or a plan for Canadians to have access to the pharmaceuticals they need. This was the theme of the entire speech: five weeks lost during a pandemic with an attempt to distract Canadians from scandal with a bunch of garbage, seemingly hastily written on the back of napkin, when a real plan was needed.
On the same day that this load of something was delivered, it was reported that there were 301 opioid-related deaths in Alberta between April and June. There was nothing in the Prime Minister's speech about how to save the lives of these people. There were 128 people in Alberta who died from COVID-19 during the same period. Be it COVID or the opioid crisis, the Prime Minister seems to be willing to ignore pandemics when it suits him.
For those who are saying that it is too early to question the government's response to the pandemic and economic collapse, which has been the argument on the other side today, I say this: For those who have lost their lives, who have lost their jobs and who have lost time as a result of this government's inaction, it is already too late. The government's inaction has cost them all of these things.
It is too late for Sarah Campbell. I cannot believe that the public safety minister said there was a compassionate program to deal with her when she went without her fiancé's companionship during her cancer treatments this year and they refused to look at her. The government refused to have a plan for people who are separated by border closures. The government has failed them. It is too late for my constituent Cheryl, who wrote to me at a loss to express her desperation, her loss of hope and her husband losing his job in the oil sector. It is too late for so many, and the Prime Minister has no plan and only scandal to offer them. However, there is hope.
I had lost a lot of hope after the last election. It was hard for me. The people I represent are not in a good spot. Many of them are fighting mental health issues from the loss of work, and they are struggling to make ends meet. They feel isolated and ignored by the people in charge of this nation. I have been trying everything I can do with the courage inside of me to fight for them, to get change that would allow them to see themselves in a prosperous, peaceful future Canada.
Enter the member of Parliament for Durham, the new leader of Canada's official opposition and the Conservative Party of Canada. In a few short weeks, even as he battled the coronavirus himself, as the new leader of our party he has given me a boost of hope that I needed, not just as a member of Parliament, but as a member of a community that is struggling, as a wife apart from her husband and as a powerful woman who will not back down to anyone. He has done something that is vitally important to me personally: publicly expressed firm support for the human rights of all Canadians, including a commitment to fighting discrimination faced by the LGBTQ community and to working to protect and enhance women's rights without apology or hesitation.
I have no confidence in the government, especially not in the current Prime Minister, but I do have confidence in that man, his team and in the millions of Canadians who have had enough and are about to stand up for change. In the coming weeks and months, we will see this team put forward an alterative plan, an alternative vision to this incompetence, this lack of courage and this lack of compassion.
As the shadow minister for health, I will be holding the government to account for its failures. There will be no quarter and there will be no apologies, but there will be hope. I ask every Canadian to stand with me to join our fight in building a new vision for Canada. Giddy up.