June 11th, 2020
June 2020 Newsletter
I know that many of you are anxious and worried about your families, your safety and your work. My colleagues and I in the NDP are fighting every day to make sure that this government delivers for working people and that no one is left behind. We can and must do better.
As we transition from lockdown, my priority is to ensure the government is held to account and doing everything I can to support the people of London-Fanshawe. We cannot move to a punitive or accusatory system. That is not how we recover from this crisis.
At the beginning of this pandemic, the Trudeau government was reluctant to take bold actions in order to protect jobs and Canadian workers. Many of these measures were not ambitious enough and fell short of ensuring that Canadians would be protected from the economic effects of this pandemic. New Democrats fought hard to ensure that these programs were strengthened and extended. During this minority government, the NDP has pushed Trudeau to make substantial changes and we have achieved victories such as:
- Expanding support with the CERB program and pushing to make the supports universal;
- Lifting the wage subsidy program for hard hit businesses from only 10% to 75%;
- Ensuring that every Canadian worker is entitled to 10 days of paid sick leave;
- Making the government increase the student benefit CESB for those with dependents or living with disabilities from $1750 to $2000 – A single mother who is trying to build a better life shouldn’t be financially punished for being in education;
- Insisting the government provide more support for seniors. Government is providing a one-time OAS payment of $300 for seniors and an additional $200 for those on GIS – but we are pushing for these increases to become regular and permanent;
- Forcing the government to commit to providing financial support for persons with disabilities. We will continue to hold the government to account to provide real action. Words alone aren’t good enough, those with disabilities need support immediately;
- Helping small businesses stay afloat by expanding the CEBA program;
- Making the government stop pandemic bailout money going to tax-evading corporations. Working people are struggling and taxpayer dollars shouldn’t be going to subsidize the super-wealthy and the big banks.
Too many people have been unable to access the financial supports they desperately need. That’s why the NDP called for a universal direct payment of $2000 for every Canadian in order to protect our families and stabilize the economy. Shortly after, the government listened to our demands and introduced the CERB program, which while welcome, still leaves far too many Canadians falling through the cracks.
The government initially introduced a wage subsidy of 10% for hard-hit businesses. We knew that wasn’t enough and Jagmeet Singh brought together a broad coalition of union leaders and small business owners to call for a wage support of 75%. The government U-turned and implemented that policy too.
Many working people have felt pressure either to go into work while sick or not be able to pay their bills. The lack of paid sick leave in Canada was a problem before the pandemic but now it has become an issue of public safety as well. We were able to convince the government to implement 10 days of paid leave. It’s good for workers, it’s good for businesses and it’s vital to the health and security of the nation.
While we are proud of the reforms we have managed to get from the government, there is so much more work to be done. Too many vulnerable Canadians are being left behind and forgotten. Seniors and people living on disability support payments were already struggling financially before the crisis and are now facing new challenges and increased costs just to survive. We need to implement far more than a one-time payment, for seniors and those persons living with disabilities, to ensure they can live with dignity.
The horrific conditions faced by far too many seniors in long term care homes is a disgrace. Profits for owners and shareholders of care home facilities are being put first before our seniors. Care workers are being overworked and underpaid for the essential work they are doing. That’s why the NDP is calling on the government to immediately increase funding and introduce clear and enforceable national standards so that we can put people first.
Our economy is stronger when we support working families, as too many essential workers are struggling to ensure their children are cared for and parents need assurances that they can get safe, quality, universal and affordable childcare.
I would like to thank all of the healthcare and essential workers who have put themselves at risk for the good of all Canadians. You are the heroes of our time and we need to financially support and recognize those who have sacrificed so much and put themselves in the line of fire. We need our government to focus more on workers and less on CEO’s and shareholders. We can build a stronger Canada together and make sure our government is working for you.
Member of Parliament