Hon. Brian Francis: Honourable senators, I rise today to pay tribute to the front-line workers who have gone above and beyond in recent months. Thank you to the members of the Canadian Senators Group for transferring their spot to me.
The coronavirus pandemic has posed an unprecedented threat to the health, social and economic well-being of individuals, especially the most vulnerable among us. Over the past 10 months, more than 460,000 people in Canada have contracted this virus. While more than 377,000 have recovered, over 13,500 people have died. As we mourn the loss of fathers and mothers, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, neighbours and friends, and as we begin to support survivors dealing with lingering side effects, let us also remember to thank the front-line workers who put themselves and their families at risk to deliver critical services, often for low wages and few benefits.
Among them are those who stock groceries; deliver packages; prepare food; drive public transportation; care for the sick and injured, as well as for seniors and other adults in need of assistance; those involved in the research and development of diagnostics, treatments and vaccines, as well as in its distribution and administration; those who keep us informed, connected and entertained; those who teach children and youth; and many others who carry out the essential tasks that have kept our society and economy functioning this year. These men and women are true heroes and heroines, and deserve not just respect and gratitude but adequate protection and support.
Here in Prince Edward Island, we’ve been extremely fortunate. There have been only 89 confirmed cases to date. This is in large part due to the hard work and sacrifices of people like Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Heather Morrison; Chief Nursing Officer Marion Dowling; Mark Spidel, Deputy Minister of the Department of Health and Wellness; Terry Campbell, Director of Support Services at the QEH; Dr. Greg German, medical microbiologist; and the personnel working in laboratories, as well as doctors, such as Jan Rogerson, Martha Carmichael, Aaron Sibley and Trevor Jain, and all their allied health care professionals and support staff, as well as their respective families.
This list is not exhaustive. There are too many examples of Islanders and Canadians who have gone above and beyond this year. Colleagues, join me in sending our love and appreciation to all of the everyday heroes and heroines of the pandemic, at home and abroad. To them we are forever indebted. Wela’lin. Thank you.