Despite recent attempts by the Liberal government to stifle the voice of Canada’s Official Opposition, Canada’s Conservatives are working hard to hold the government accountable during these trying times.
We are striving to work with the Liberal government, but working together does not mean we cease to question the government’s actions.
The Liberal government has made many promises in recent weeks, constituting more than $130 billion in new deficit spending, to help those affected by COVID-19. While some of that money has started to flow, too many Canadians are still being left behind.
A particular area of concern is our local businesses.
Small and medium-size businesses employ some 70% of Canada’s workforce. Millions of Canadians are worried about wage cuts and layoffs. Businesses, both large and small, need support to ensure they can stay in business during and after the pandemic.
The Liberal government announced the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) as a measure to help keep businesses afloat. This measure would see the Federal Government subsidize 75% of wages for companies that have lost, or expect to lose, 30% of their revenue as a result of COVID-19. This would ensure businesses can afford to keep their employees, but, weeks later, businesses have yet to see that help materialize.
On Tuesday, the Prime Minster finally announced that applications for the CEWS would open next week – but even then, businesses won’t see any money flowing until next month.
Many businesses have been closed for over a month already, and some may never re-open.
Canadians’ lives and livelihoods depend on how the government responds to this crisis.
With both the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), and the CEWS, parliamentarians had to return to Ottawa twice to fix mistakes and holes in the Liberals’ proposed legislation. These issues were largely due to discrepancies between what Justin Trudeau announced and what was actually in the legislation. This happened despite Conservatives having raised concerns about those very issues and being assured they had been dealt with.
A small business on the verge of bankruptcy can’t wait weeks for the government’s wage subsidy, and then even longer to make sure they got it right.
The COVID-19 pandemic is a national public health crisis to be sure, but it does not constitute a free pass or blank cheque for government. Nor is it an excuse to circumvent Parliament and our democratic processes. In order to ensure that Canadians get the real help they need, there must be oversight and accountability.
If your business qualifies for the CEWS you can apply, starting Monday, at Canada.ca.