As we navigate the after-effects of the global pandemic, Oshawa’s constituents tell me they are somewhat optimistic but, at the same time, extremely cautious about the days ahead.
They and their families are very nervous about a whole range of unknown factors: how many more people in our community will get sick? How many more workers might lose their jobs? How many more businesses will be threatened or close altogether? How will our community’s brave but beleaguered health care workers continue to cope with what, increasingly, appears to be a COVID “second wave”?
From the onset of the pandemic, our Conservative Opposition has focused on getting Canadians the help they need. Over the spring and summer, we’ve offered numerous proposals in parliament to improve federally-funded programs aimed at supporting individuals, families, seniors and small business.
Our new Conservative leader – my neighbour and Bowmanville’s own Erin O’Toole – has, since his election in late August, spoken at length about the urgent need to refocus federal efforts on jobs and economic recovery.
This unparalleled health and economic crisis deserves a serious Team Canada response. That’s why I, along with Erin and our team have rolled up our sleeves and implored the Prime Minister to get down to work. Ahead of this week’s Throne Speech and an upcoming federal budget, we’ve proposed constructive solutions to ensure that no one falls through the cracks.
But as we look ahead, Oshawa and Canadians face a dire situation. We have the highest unemployment rate among G7 nations; we’ve lost our AAA credit rating; and, we remain the only G7 partner without a recovery plan.
The Prime Minister’s troubled aid programs have failed businesses and forced many to close for good. Canadian business stakeholders – across all sectors – have urged a change from “life support” programs such as the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) and wage subsidies, towards real job-creating policies like tax cuts, regulatory improvements and new investments to assist the private sector in creating jobs.
Of course, the premiers and provinces cannot simply lift restrictions and hope that our economy will roar back to life. The hard reality is that it will take much more: Leadership, new ideas and hard work.
So, while Justin Trudeau has been slow to act or too fixated on an ever-expanding list of self-induced scandals, how can Oshawa’s residents trust this Prime Minister – or his coalition partner, the NDP Leader – to lead us through the next stage of recovery?
Member of Parliament, Oshawa