Mr. Speaker, it is a great opportunity to participate. I just want to start by thanking all of the incredible people who work in the House, the administrative and technical staff, for making this possible. I have to be at home right now, but the fact that I can still participate virtually is a great service, not just for me, but for the people I represent. I am extremely grateful for the ability to do this.
Last night, the world passed a milestone. I do not know if a lot of people heard about it, were paying attention to it or are aware of it. Last night somewhere around 4 a.m., we passed the one-million mark for number of people throughout the world who have died from COVID-19. This means that within the last eight months or so, this virus has spread so quickly throughout the world and infected so many people, that we are now at the number of one million deaths throughout the world.
In Canada, we are extremely fortunate. We should always strive to have absolutely no deaths in a pandemic like this, even though that reality is very unlikely to happen. Nonetheless, Canada has only had just slightly over 9,000 deaths. Like I said, it is still a lot, but compared to some of the other countries, in particular those in the G7, it is a relatively low death rate.
I bring this up because I think it is extremely germane to the discussion we are having. This discussion is about timing and about how important it is to deal with something with great haste to ensure Canadians get the supports they need. They need to have that security to continue to support themselves and pay their bills during a time when they are also experiencing a great deal of anxiety.
Over the last number of months, we have made those programs better through work with all parties in the House, and I have no problem giving credit to the NDP and Conservative parties where it is due.
I heard comments earlier today from the Conservatives. One member in his 10-minute speech said the Liberal government does not want to work with the Conservatives, but then about two minutes later he went on to talk about how the Conservatives would like to take all the credit for changes to the employee benefit because of their hard work. I have no problem giving credit where credit is due. The Conservatives did play a very important role in helping to shape that policy. That is what this has been about from the beginning.
It has also been about moving very quickly. I mentioned this many times in the House, but I am going to say it again. What we saw at the beginning of this pandemic was politicians working together to get the CERB out the door, which would have taken about 18 months by any normal standard. We put it together five days. We have an incredible public service that took this program and pushed it out the door to get money into the bank accounts of millions of Canadians in such short order. We are talking about one month and four days to get money into the bank accounts of 5.4 million Canadians from the day COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic by the WHO.
I truly believe that it is because of that speedy work and the reiterations on the fly and the willingness for the Conservatives, at times, to push for what they thought was right. Through the Speech from the Throne and what we are experiencing now through this piece of legislation, the NDP were pushing forward to focus on people who inadvertently were not given the full attention they should have received. That is what a minority Parliament is supposed to work like.
When I hear Conservatives say things to the effect that Liberals are not working with them, it is just completely untrue. By their own admission, they will take credit for the fact that they had a lot to do with increasing that wage subsidy early on in the pandemic. As we start to debate this bill, we want to move it forward as quickly as possible.
It is about extending and moving into the second phase of these various different supports for Canadians, whether that is a support to help people stay at home with their children or loved ones; whether it is for sick benefits, and again I thank the New Democrats for being champions of that; or whether it is about creating a benefit for people who will not fall under the reformulated employment insurance program. We need to make sure that these Canadians are taken care of.
I think that when we look at the timelines, what is so incredibly important is to look at another set of data. I opened my speech by talking about a million deaths throughout the world, and how just over 9,000 of those were in Canada. I have heard the member for Carleton, on a number of occasions, talk about the amount that has been spent in terms of stimulus funding in Canada, and he compares it to other G7 countries. The reality is that, as of the most recent data, Canada has spent 15% of our GDP on COVID stimulus packages. Compare us, for example, to our closest neighbour, the United States, which spent 13.2% of its GDP on stimulus packages. So, we have spent 1.8% more in our stimulus packages. We have moved quickly and we have supported Canadians in great haste, and as a result our death rate is one-third of what it is in the United States. In the United States, as we all know, things are unravelling extremely quickly and their governments cannot seem to get a grasp or a handle on what they need to do in order to control this.
We as parliamentarians, and I use the collective we, worked together early on, sometimes through negotiations, sometimes through compromise and sometimes by yelling at each other across the floor of the House of Commons. We were able to get this package out the door as soon as possible, and now, as we move toward the second wave and we know that more struggles are going to come by Canadians as a result of what is ahead, we need to make sure that they are taken care of again. That is why this is so incredibly important to deal with right now.
I am sure I will get a question on this from a Conservative, so I may as well pre-empt it now. I know the question is going to come up about prorogation, and that we wasted five or six weeks during prorogation. Let us recap for a second. One special COVID committee sitting day was lost as a result of that prorogation, and two regular sitting days of the House were lost: the Monday and the Tuesday before the Speech from the Throne. That is the entire amount of possible debate that was lost. There was no other arrangement with House leaders and certainly nothing that had come to the floor of the House to support some kind of deal that we would sit and debate things in the middle of August. I know we also talk about committees that were doing work. Those committees are being re-established now. They are bringing back the issues again.
I can tell members that I sat on the PROC committee. We did a lot of work with respect to finding a way to vote virtually as we move forward. If we want to talk about wasting time, we are stuck now taking about 50 to 55 minutes to have a single vote happen in the House, when this is the exact model that the Conservatives were advocating from day one in the procedural affairs committee. They wanted to vote the exact way that we are doing it on Zoom, whereas the rest of the committee members suggested we follow what Britain has been doing since the spring and actually have an app-based solution that could confirm all the biometrics and that required less bandwidth to use, as another and more effective way of voting. I have become cynical, and a number of my questions have been about the amount of time that has been wasted by Her Majesty's loyal opposition, because I am left with the thought that this is the only explanation that can be there.
I know I am running out of time. I am thankful for the opportunity to speak today. I want to encourage my colleagues to move with the same amount of speed that we did in March, because it was extremely important at the time, so that we could get the assistance that Canadians need in order to get through this pandemic and in order to be taken care of. That is what they really care about right now.