Madam Speaker, I am pleased to rise today. I would like to say that I will be sharing my time with the member for Beauport—Limoilou.
Let me get one thing straight right out of the gate: We will support the Conservatives’ motion, but with certain reservations, which I would like to discuss today. To begin with, I would like to address the current political climate.
This week, there were two events that summed up the current political climate. We saw the member from Louis-Hébert speak out. I would like to thank him, because I thought he had a measured, non-partisan tone. He made a lot of people feel better.
We also heard from the member from Carleton. I heard him yesterday in the debate on Bill C-8, and he barely spoke about the bill. His speech sounded like some kind of rallying cry pitting freedom against the pandemic. In my opinion, when a public decision-maker draws murky comparisons between freedom and a pandemic, there is something wrong. I say this because it reminded me of U.S. politics.
I do not know if my colleagues pay attention to that stuff, but there is one particularly despicable Republican, Ms. Taylor Greene, who made a problematic association between what is happening in the United States and the Nazi regime. Instead of saying “gestapo”, she said “gazpacho”. Perhaps we appreciate culinary delights a little more than she does. Perhaps we are a little more cultured; we know what it is.
I mention this because it seems to me that Canadian politics are becoming more and more Americanized. That is what scares me. When I read the Conservative motion, I saw it as an attempt to unite the discontented. I can understand why people might be discontented. I have family members and people around me who are not happy about the current situation. Even if they are looking for someone to blame, they can see that the government is responsible for its actions, but nobody created the pandemic. I think it is irresponsible to unite the discontented who are proposing solutions to the crisis that are even worse than the current measures. Unfortunately, people's positions are very polarized right now, and I think that is the worst thing we can do during a crisis.
I am a great admirer of Camus, and this reminds me of something he wrote, “Servitudes de la haine”, or slaves to hatred, which was published in Actuelles II. To put it in context, it is from the end of the Second World War. I will read the passage, and then I would like to unpack it. Camus wrote:
...the truth is something that must be constructed, like love, like intelligence. Nothing is given or promised, but anything is possible for those who take initiative and take risks. That is the wager one must make when one is being suffocated by lies, when one's back is up against the wall. The wager must be made with equanimity [that is worth emphasizing] and implacability, and doors will open.
Camus was a great proponent of moderation. There is a concept in Greek philosophy called “hubris”. It is essentially about excess. It seems to me that there is a little too much excess in Canadian politics. People are using the pandemic to score political points. As I said, I found the comments from the member for Louis-Hébert interesting because he was trying to be reasonable and rational and point out that his party might need to make some changes.
What I would like to see from the Conservative Party is reasonable and rational people who are willing to say that they cannot support all of the protesters' demands because the pandemic is still affecting our health care system. I would not be surprised if the protesters I saw flouting physical distancing rules this week put additional pressure on our health care system in the coming weeks.
I think it is irresponsible to appear alongside the protesters and take photos with them, to use them for political purposes and commend them for what they are doing, while knowing full well that this is not the way out of the crisis. It demonstrates a certain level of political excess that is becoming increasingly common. Not to be unkind, but I could not help but notice some degree of excess in some of the statements made by the member for Carleton.
I am talking about excess because the motion moved by my Conservative colleagues refers to something Dr. Theresa Tam has said. We have heard from her quite a bit throughout this crisis. During the first wave, she provided some guidance that I heard several of our Conservative colleagues question. Now they are using Dr. Tam's words to call for the various measures that have been put in place to be lifted.
Over the past few weeks, we have once again seen plenty of examples of this ideological excess. Protesters demanded that all measures be lifted, but half of the restrictions do not even fall under the jurisdiction of the federal Parliament. They are provincial responsibilities. It is the provincial health departments that decide to impose lockdowns. In the House, the specific measures do not necessarily concern lockdowns or restaurant closures. The provinces deal with that.
What is more, all of this is being done for political purposes. Unfortunately, I have repeatedly heard some colleagues from the Conservative Party talk about lifting all measures because that would please the protesters outside. I talked about the current climate. All of this makes me think of that ailment of democracy called populism.
The definition of populism is to propose very simple solutions to complex problems. A pandemic is complex and is not something that can be resolved by honking horns, reopening restaurants or yelling about freedom. To overcome the pandemic, we have to rely on science. The worst thing a public decision-maker can do is try to exploit science and use it for partisan purposes. Science implies a form of truth and does not mix well with ideologies.
In the motion moved by my Conservative colleagues, I get the impression that they are attempting to use science for ideological purposes by referring to Dr. Tam. They did not listen to her when she said that unfortunately, we needed to impose certain restrictions on our individual freedoms because of the pandemic. Now, however, they are listening to her when she says the opposite.
The worst thing a public decision-maker can do is use science for ideological purposes, which we are seeing increasingly today. I look forward to seeing my Conservative colleagues rely on science when it comes to climate change, which they have not done so far, unfortunately.
I think using science for ideological purposes is one of the worst things a politician can do, because it fuels public cynicism. Populism feeds off that cynicism, rejects the elites and breeds skepticism of institutions. Populism is on the rise in Canada, and I do not think my Conservative colleagues are too upset about it.
At the beginning of my speech, I said that the Bloc Québécois might support the Conservatives' motion, with some reservations. The main reservation is that our Conservative colleagues seem to be trying to use Dr. Tam for their own purposes. We will see where that ends. I look forward to hearing my colleagues' comments.