In the ever changing battle to combat the spread of COVID-19, Delta’s MP says it’s been a sobering month in Ottawa.
While back in Delta for a few days re-connecting with her family, Carla Qualtrough spoke to the Optimist on a number of topics including her role in the committee of COVID-19.
Struck by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on March 4, the cabinet committee on the federal response to COVID-19, complements the work being done by the incident response group.
There are eight members on the committee, which is chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland.
“We meet at least three times a week for three to five hours depending on the circumstances in addition to two full cabinet meetings as week,” said Qualtrough. “We dig in to proposals, solutions and measures and real time decision making and advice to the Prime Minister if something around the world has changed. We are all working hard on this. We had the benefit of governing for a term and that has translated during this crisis into strong relationships, and good leadership and excellent working relationships, so we can work very nimbly as a group of ministers, now that we have some maturity and experience – I’m very proud of how we are handling this and how we have been able to change our mind. This situation is fluid.”
She said being in Ottawa this past month has been very unsettling.
“I was one of the MPs in the House of Commons last week where we only had 33 people instead of our usual 338 and as an economic minister now having my measures implemented through law overnight, it was a very sobering experience,” Qualtrough said. “It reminded us all how serious this was. On the one hand this is very serious and critical for our country that we get it right, but on the other hand you had this feeling of hope. “Regardless of what the world is throwing at us, we still stand here in the House of Commons united trying to do right by our citizens – a flourishing democracy – a sense of purpose. When I flew out of Ottawa, it was ghost town. It’s a crisis, but I’m absolutely confident we will get through this.”
Qualtrough was back in Delta for the first time on Saturday since the crisis broke out, although she has been fully connected to Delta through daily discussions with mayor and council, Delta police, both MLAs and other local leaders.
She said she does have the sense that Deltans are taking this crisis seriously.
“We live in a very safe country and a safe community and it is hard to push through that sense of security and implore citizens to take this seriously, but I think we have had that breakthrough,” she said. “On my street Sunday night all of the families pulled out lawn chairs and sat at the end of our driveways and put up a glass from a distance. It was a great sense of community, but in a safe way. I think the measures Delta took were timely, necessary and appropriate and Deltans are listening.”