February has been a busy month in Parliament. The failure of the Liberal government in terms of vaccine supply was a daily topic of discussion. Line 5, and the efforts to ensure it remains open were also a major effort, with the petition e-3081, the letter/email writing campaign to Michigan Governor Whitmer, plus numerous appeals to the Prime Minister to call U.S. President Biden to intervene. Despite the Prime Minister’s virtual meeting with the President on Feb. 23, the PM did not even bring up the issue, letting us know where the issue falls on his priority list. This is unacceptable and I will continue to push for the two to open a channel of communication on the matter.
From a legislation perspective, the $490 billion of COVID spending was a key discussion. Many of the programs for wage subsidy, rent relief, and business supports left quite a few Canadians ineligible to qualify, and, with the lockdowns, many businesses are at the brink of bankruptcy. Although the flaws were pointed out months ago, there is still no solution in place. Similarly, the airline and tourism industries, as well as retail and restaurants, are in crisis. Support for these sectors will be needed over the next years as we move into economic recovery.
Farmers have been extremely hard-hit by the pandemic, with increasing costs from two carbon tax increases, and further cost increases coming with the Clean Fuel Standard legislation. Agriculture is a significant sector in our community, and critical for food security. I am continuing to work to ensure the industry’s voice is heard at the federal level.
As part of my democratic reform responsibilities, my Conservative colleagues and I are preparing for the debate on the election changes proposed in Bill C-19, for an election in a pandemic. Canadians overwhelmingly do NOT want an election in a pandemic, but it seems the Liberal government does, since they tabled this Bill before the committee studying the issue had published their recommendations. However, it looks like due to their current fortunes, they are delaying the start of the Parliamentary debate. I will be focused on ensuring that workers and voters would be protected, and that our tried and true democratic process is not eroded.
People have been expressing concern over the former governor general’s costs, including the $150,000 annual pension for life, the $200,000 yearly expense account and the more than $300,000 costs for the investigation and legal fees that led to her resignation, due to the toxic work environment the report says she created. At a time when many Canadians are worried about their jobs and businesses, or struggling to make ends meet, it is important that we take action to ensure this entitlement on the taxpayers dime is eliminated.
Locally, our office is open by appointment, and we are dealing with the backlog of many government departments that have experienced a slowdown due to the pandemic. Call us at 519-383-6600 if you would like our assistance.
Looking forward to an early spring!