Grande Prairie-MacKenzie MP Chris Warkentin says politics must be put aside to help Canadians and businesses through the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. The federal government laid out a financial package aimed at doing just that Wednesday morning, and Warkentin says it’s the Official Opposition’s desire to make sure it undertakes measures that will help people immediately impacted.
“It’s a complex crisis and our concern is, number one, the right amounts of money are going in the right places, and that the measures being undertaken can be acted on quickly,” he says. “It is a time for cooperation and efforts to assist Canadians, but it’s important to hold the government to account to ensure the money is going to reach Canadians that have been hardest hit by this.”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Finance Minister Bill Morneau have announced $82 billion in various financial aid packages for families, employees, and businesses across Canada. The plan would allow workers who do not qualify for EI but are forced to self-isolate or are caring for family members, to be able to receive money bi-weekly for up to 14 weeks. The PM also announced $55 billion to help businesses impacted meet various liquidity needs. The funding includes a new measure to help support small businesses with up to 10 percent of their payroll costs.
Warkentin says the dollar figures thus far are a step in the right direction but he is adamant the Conservative Party of Canada will keep a close eye on things if they believe it is becoming less about families, and more about big corporations.
“We don’t want to see major bailouts to credit card companies… we don’t want to see it go to big corporations that are Liberal friendly; we believe it needs to go to communities and individuals hardest hit by this. We believe accountability and transparency need to paramount with this, but we believe we can do it in a cooperative way, to ensure we protect the interest of Canadians.”
It’s expected the financial aid packages will be available for Canadians within the next couple of weeks.