Changes to Programs Needed Now

The Covid-19 global pandemic has been a challenging time for Westman and our province. The Government of Canada has introduced measures to support Canadians through these unprecedented times, yet many have been left out to dry without support.

I was in Ottawa on Wednesday, May 13, 2020 for the weekly in-person sitting of the House of Commons.

I have been hearing from numerous families, farmers, and small business owners in Westman who are falling through the cracks because of how the Liberals set up the various programs.

Having heard the concerns of the people of Westman, I made the trip to Ottawa to urge the Liberals to fix some of their programs that have left several individuals and businesses stranded throughout the pandemic.

While in Ottawa, I rose in the House of Commons urging the government to revise the criteria for the Federal Wage Subsidy Program for businesses that are in need, but do not meet the eligibility criteria.

Westman businesses, including Chez Angela, a bakery in downtown Brandon, that have experienced rapid growth in advance of the pandemic are left behind by the Liberal’s small business supports.

On Monday, May 11th I interviewed James Chambers, co-owner and operator of Chez Angela. Chambers emphasized that, “the wage subsidy disadvantages seasonal businesses and operations that have grown rapidly in the year leading up to the pandemic” of which Chez Angela is both. Chambers indicated that, “we would have to fall fifty per cent in revenue to qualify – that would put us out of business.”

Other businesses in Westman have applied for the government’s small business loans, yet; many that are owner-operated are ineligible for these zero-interest loans.

The government has been unwilling to make the necessary changes to programs to support Canadians and businesses that are in need.

Westman farmers are also enduring hardship throughout this pandemic. While speaking in the house I stood up for Westman’s cattle and hog producers who are facing a dramatic drop in the price of beef and pork while confronting unaffordable premiums for the Western Livestock Price Insurance Program.

I was elected to get results and stand up for Westman at every turn. These challenging times will not stop me from putting forward solutions to the challenges our farmers are facing.

I urge the government to work to improve its programs to help Canadians in need and ensure a strong economic recovery.

The people of Westman can count on me to continue urging the Liberals to make the necessary changes to their COVID-19 response – Canadians hit hardest by the pandemic cannot wait any longer and want to see action now.

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