“It’s almost unbelievable – but we know it is all too real. A year ago, New Brunswickers’ lives were thrown into chaos with the announcement of the world COVID-19 pandemic. Suddenly we were working from home, or not working at all. We were confined to our homes, away from loved ones and friends. Businesses were shuttered, schools were closed. The outlook was bleak.
Within days New Brunswickers rallied – we are a resilient, innovative and caring people. We pivoted. We listened to Public Health. We followed their guidance and we worked hard to help contain the spread. Frontline workers, especially women, in health care, long-term care, education, food provision, transportation and other essential workers took great care of us while risking their own personal safety. We are forever grateful for their efforts.
Comparatively, New Brunswick has fared well. Our case numbers are low, we were able to enjoy an almost normal summer. But many have suffered greatly, the family and friends of 29 New Brunswickers are grieving the loss of loved ones to COVID-19. Over 1400 New Brunswickers and their families have suffered from the horrible effects of the disease. Seniors in long-term care and isolated in their own homes are coping with crushing loneliness. People everywhere are experiencing anxiety and depression at unprecedented levels. Multitudes of small- and medium-sized businesses may never recover from the significant losses resulting from the restrictions put in place to fight the disease. On this National Day of Observance, our thoughts and prayers are with all those who have suffered during this unprecedented time.
But hope prevails – there is indeed a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. We know that the precautions we have all taken have kept us relatively safe. We also know that we can get through tough times like this together and with the global rally to create, produce and acquire millions of doses of vaccines we can take comfort in the knowledge that, a year from today, New Brunswickers will have reclaimed their “normal” lives. In the meantime, we must remain vigilant and continue to be kind and to be safe.”
Interim leader of the New Brunswick Liberal Party