On the anniversary of the World Health Organization’s declaration of the COVID-19 pandemic, the BC Green Party has issued a statement to honour the memory of the more than 22,000 Canadians who lost their lives to COVID-19.

BC Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau, the MLA for Cowichan Valley says “today, I hold everyone who has passed in my heart.”

Furstenau says being unable to gather to grieve this year is a “staggeringly cruel element” of the COVID-19 pandemic and remembering those lives lost “further allows us to heal, though I know that process is only just the beginning.”

She says we’ve made it through the past 12 months thanks to the dedication of frontline workers.

Furstenau acknowledges the efforts of “health care workers, teachers, first responders, janitorial staff, those who care for our elders and children” as well as those who feed us and ensure we receive essential goods and services.

Furstenau says the pandemic has shown that everything is interconnected and nothing matters more than the health and well-being of loved ones and that we’re all willing “to make incredible sacrifices to protect people we have never met.”

She feels that some of the changes we’ll carry forward will make our province “a kinder, healthier, more just and caring place.”