These past few weeks have confirmed the world is now a different place. The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has changed the day-to-day routine for residents in our community and for all Canadians.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the extraordinary doctors, nurses and all health care providers in our community, as well as emergency services personnel who are doing exceptional work to keep us all healthy and safe. I would also like to recognize the work of our grocery store clerks, pharmacy and drug store staff, truck drivers, restaurant staff, farmers, and other essential services who are doing ex- tremely important work in these times of uncertainty. We all have to do our part and follow the advice of our local public health department, including strict physical distancing measures. Canada’s Official Opposition has been committed to the Team Canada approach and working in good faith with the Government. We support measures that will help Canadians during these difficult times. We believe the Government can do more.
Some of our recommendations include immediately refunding GST remittances to businesses for at least the last six months and expediting the wage subsidy process. This would allow money to flow more quickly – allowing businesses to remain viable.
We have also called on the Government to take specific steps with the procurement of personal protective equipment for our frontline workers.
In addition to this, we have recommended a temporary increase to the charitable giving tax credit for 2020. We know how important charitable giving is to Canada. In times of need, people who are struggling often turn to community or faith groups for assistance.
If community members have means to contribute to a charity during these challenging times, I encourage them to support organizations like the United Way, one of the local food banks, Leeds Grenville Interval House, or a faith-based organization that is supporting the community.
These steps, as well as increased support for families, seniors, and students, are vital to ensure the health of our community.
Residents can visit canada.ca/coronavirus for up-to-date information on the Government’s response to COVID-19. With questions or concerns on this information, please contact my office at 1-866-498-3096 or [email protected].
Take care of your health, take care of our community, and let’s all take care of each other.
Michael Barrett, M.P. Leeds-Grenville-Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes