A sombre moment of silence was held in the House of Commons Wednesday, as MPs expressed sadness and shock after a bus crash at a Montreal-area daycare that left two children dead and at least six others hospitalized.
Members of Parliament stood quietly with heads bowed as the normally raucous chamber was stilled into silence for one minute and ten seconds.
Afterward, Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre stood with hands folded and in a muted tone, began question period by extending condolences to the families involved and asking for an update on the situation from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
“As a father, I can imagine the suffering of the families who’ve been affected and we all offer our support and our prayers to those families,” Poilievre said in French, asking Trudeau what support the government would offer to the people of Quebec dealing with this tragedy.
Trudeau said all Canadians are thinking of the families affected in Laval.
“Our hearts go out to them, nothing can erase the pain and the suffering that these families and that community are going through right now,” Trudeau said, also speaking in French.
“We will be there to support them in the days and the months and the years to come as they go through this unimaginable suffering.”
The incident occurred Wednesday morning after a bus smashed into the front of Garderie Educative Ste-Rose daycare in Laval, just north of Montreal, killing two children and injuring at least six others.
Four injured preschool-aged children were taken to Montreal’s Sainte-Justine pediatric hospital. The two boys and two girls were conscious when they arrived at the hospital and are being evaluated, Dr. Marc Girard, head of professional services, told reporters, adding that one child was in intensive care.
Police said a 51-year-old man who was driving the bus was arrested. He was still being questioned as of the early afternoon, but police say he is facing charges of homicide and dangerous driving.
Trudeau thanked the first responders who were called to the scene and all those offering help to those involved.
“We will continue to keep them close to our hearts and in our prayers,” Trudeau said during his remarks in the House of Commons.
Prior to question period, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh called the incident a “horrible tragedy” and said there were no words to express his dismay.
“I’m thinking of the families of the victims and acknowledge the work of the first responders,” he said.
Bloc Quebecois Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet said he did not want to comment on details of the incident, saying for now the situation demands compassion and empathy, especially for the families involved.
“There’s nothing more precious to our hearts than our children,” he said in French.
Earlier in the day, Quebec Premier François Legault described the bus crash as “terrible” as details emerged.
“We are going to offer parents all the help we are capable of giving,” he said. “Obviously as a father … I’m shocked. I find it difficult. I can understand the anguish that they are going through right now.”