It has been one year since the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 to be a global pandemic. We mourn more than 22,000 Canadians lost, over 1,300 of them British Columbians. As we anticipate when we can be together, we recognize that we can take advantage of the opportunity to honour those we’ve lost and the sacrifices people have made in order to ensure a better world for us all.
I want to extend my sincere thanks to healthcare, frontline, and essential workers, and all British Columbians who have done their part to keep our communities safe.
S. Furstenau: Thank you to the Premier and the Leader of the Official Opposition for their heartfelt and inspiring words as we mark this day of observance. A year ago today COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic, and our lives were changed in ways that we could have never imagined.
Acknowledging the people we’ve lost further allows us to heal, although I know that that process, for many, is only just beginning. Being unable to gather to grieve this year is a staggeringly cruel element of this pandemic. Today I hold everyone who has passed and all who have lost loved ones in my heart.
I’d also like to acknowledge those who have survived COVID-19 but are struggling with long-term symptoms. We will strive to better protect and support you every day.
Soon, I hope, we will once again be able to gather safely, embrace, share a meal and follow the customs, religious practices and ceremonies that have guided us through tragedies for generations. It has been a horrible, horrible year. But we are finding our way through, thanks to the continued dedication and service of front-line workers: health care providers, teachers, first responders, janitorial staff, grocery store workers, those who care for our elders and children, the people who feed us, the people who ensure essential goods and services are getting to where they need to be, transit workers.
After all we’ve been through, our world will be forever changed. We have learned unequivocally that everything is interconnected, that nothing matters more than the health and well-being of the people we love and that we are all willing to make incredible sacrifices to protect people we have never met. I have a glimmer of hope that some of the changes we will carry forward will make our province and our world a kinder, healthier, more just and caring place.