Madam Speaker, I am very pleased to be participating in this debate and also to be speaking after the member for Fort McMurray—Cold Lake. As Quebeckers and other francophones just heard, the member from Alberta, who represents one of the most oil rich ridings in the country, speaks impeccable French.
It is late in the day, and we are gathered here to ask the Government of Canada to do what all the other Canadian governments have done and that is to lift the COVID-19 mandates for Canadians. When I say all the other Canadian governments, I am not referring to previous governments, but to the current governments of the 10 Canadian provinces. Ours is a big and beautiful country. We have British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador. Ten out of ten provinces have decided to lift COVID-19 mandates.
Some provinces, like Saskatchewan, lifted them some time ago. Others, such as Quebec, are moving in that direction and will lift all measures by April 15. It is coming. Other provinces also have plans. Thus, all 10 provinces are on the same page. It is now time to lift vaccine mandates. All governments agree except for the central, federal NDP-Liberal government. That is unfortunate.
These people keep saying that we need to listen to and follow the science. I would say that they were following the political science when they called an election at the beginning of the fourth wave of the pandemic. They ignored everything that Dr. Tam had said on the Wednesday and then called an election on the Sunday. What happened to those people who were crowing about the principle of science? Why did they then call an election? What principle was behind that idea? They were operating on the principle that public servants absolutely had to be vaccinated. There was not a single scientific study proving that this was necessary. The same thing happened after the election, when the mandate was extended to truckers. There was no scientific evidence for this.
However, 10 public health officials in the 10 provinces have each decided that the restrictions could be lifted in their province. All 10 of them did. Not nine, not eight, not six out of 10, but every single one of them, from coast to coast. The NDP‑Liberal government refuses to recognize what the provinces are doing and, most importantly, refuses to do what all of the provinces have done. It is unfortunate.
I want to be clear. Canadians have suffered a lot over the past two years. We have all suffered as a result of COVID‑19. Some people lost family members or loved ones, and our thoughts are with them. Others have faced serious mental health challenges. We all know someone who experienced setbacks, challenges and upheaval when confronted with isolation.
Other people missed out on some of the best experiences life has to offer. I will not go into detail, but suffice it to say I experienced the joy of becoming a grandparent during COVID‑19 not once but twice. I got to see my granddaughters, but my parents did not get to see them as much as they would have liked. My parents are 97 and 98 years old, and they did not get to see their great-granddaughters, who will soon be 23 months old and seven weeks old, respectively, as much as they wanted. COVID‑19 caused all Canadian families to suffer, some a lot and some less so, but we have all had to live with COVID‑19.
When the time comes to lift restrictions, obviously that has to be informed by science. That is why the provinces did it. That is why I do not understand why this federal Liberal-NDP government is refusing to do what scientists in 10 out of 10 provinces agreed to do on the basis of science.
Let me be clear. I am a Conservative and a Canadian, and I am proud of that. My party was the first to raise the issue of COVID in January 2020. I remember the hon. member for Edmonton Riverbend was the first to raise the issue here in the House, in January two years ago. Ours was the first party to raise the issue of restricting the border to address this. We were the first. We were the first to ask for a vaccination system and to provide vaccines to Canadians. We were the first to talk about rapid tests.
As a Conservative, I am very proud to fight for that. As a Conservative, I am very proud to have followed all the rules.
I am a Conservative, and I got not one, not two but three doses. As a Canadian, I am proud to have my vaccine passport with me at all times. Did I enjoy having to show it every time? Of course not, but we got through it.
I was also very proud to wear a mask, which I still wear today, by the way. There is nothing to be ashamed of; on the contrary. I am very proud to wash my hands 25 times a day. I was already doing that anyway, but that is another story. Finally, I am very proud, in a way, to respect social distancing.
We all learned these words during the pandemic. However, the time has come to move on. That is where we are right now.
I mentioned earlier that the current government has made several big mistakes, such as calling an election in the middle of a pandemic, forcing public servants to be vaccinated without scientific evidence and other things like that.
However, what this government has lacked the most is respect. Unfortunately, there is no vaccine to correct this government's lack of respect, especially the lack of respect shown by the head of state.
The Prime Minister is our Prime Minister especially when we have to address a crisis like the one we have had in the last two years. The first responsibility of our Prime Minister is to let people work together, to unite us and to face and address the situation. However, what did the Prime Minister do? He fought Canadians, he divided Canadians and he wedged Canadians. That is exactly what the Prime Minister should never do, but that is exactly what he has done in the last two years.
That is why we are quite saddened to see that, two years into the pandemic, while leaders around the world and in our 10 provinces have decided to set aside the health measures, the federal government is alone in refusing to follow the science and the recommendations.
It was sad today to see our party put more than 20 question to the Minister of Health, a man for whom I have a great deal of respect and esteem. He is the member for Québec, which makes him one of my neighbours, as is the member for Louis-Hébert.
I have to say that over the past few months, I have appreciated the observations and comments of my colleague from Louis-Hébert. Unfortunately, it does not seem to be having much influence on his neighbour, the member for Québec. He should have paid more attention to the comments of the member for Louis-Hébert, who said that the Prime Minister had unfortunately decided to divide Canadians and call an election on the principle of mandatory vaccination.
What was the response we got today from the Minister of Health, whom I respect and hold in high regard?
The minister came out with all sorts of numbers, as the deputy leader of the official opposition and member for Mégantic—L'Érable said. The minister cited an unending slew of numbers.
Speaking of numbers, let us talk about the number 10. In Canada, 10 out of 10 provinces believe the same thing: It is time to lift the health measures. Why is the Minister of Health not listening? Why does he not realize what is happening?
People are saying that the situation is not the same in Europe and they are quite right. Every country has its own reality and its own challenges. Every country is faced with the fact that people can travel from one country to another and spread COVID-19 to some extent.
However, Canada has 10 provinces, 10 health ministers and 10 public health officers. Ten governments have decided to lift restrictions and mandates. We hope that the current federal government will follow the lead of the 10 Canadian provinces, do the right thing and let Canadians lead a better life in the current situation.