Winnipeg South constituency report
Terry Duguid is the Liberal MP for Winnipeg South.
Recent articles of Terry Duguid
With the election campaign now behind us, I want to express my sincere thanks to the residents of Winnipeg South for re-electing me as your member of Parliament. It is truly an honour to represent this growing and dynamic community.
Over the last several weeks, my team and I have had the privilege of speaking with thousands of constituents. Whether it was at your doorstep or over the phone, I appreciated the frank conversations we had about the issues that matter to you.
For many Winnipeg South residents, finishing the fight against COVID-19 and protecting our health care system continues to be a top priority.
Our government has committed to do this by procuring enough vaccines to provide boosters to vulnerable groups, and by moving forward with mandatory vaccinations for travel.
The month of June marks a special time for many families in our community.
Each year, I typically get to see students walk across the stage in their caps and gowns to accept their diplomas, surrounded by loving parents, grandparents, and teachers.
This year, as students graduate from high school, college, and university, I know that our current circumstances prevent them from having the traditional graduation ceremonies we have had in the past.
The COVID-19 pandemic has been challenging for many different reasons, and not being able to be together for these important milestones is certainly one of them.
Over the past year, our community has struggled in ways it never has before. Whether you’re a small business owner trying to survive, or you’ve been working on the frontlines in our hospitals, I know that the pandemic has been exhausting in so many ways. Like you, I can’t wait to leave the difficulties of the past year behind us.
Our government has said from the very beginning that we would do whatever it takes to get us to the other side of this pandemic, and that remains true today. Each day, we are doing everything in our power to protect the health of Canadians and get them through this challenging time.
It is in this spirit that we released Budget 2021, which outlines our plan to finish the fight against COVID-19 and put Canada on the path to strong recovery.
Our budget first and foremost deals with the immediate crisis, with continued support through extended EI and caregiving benefits, as well as paid sick leave. Supports for our small businesses also remain available, and new incentives have been introduced to help spur more employment. These measures have not only protected Canadians from the virus but have stabilized our economy - averting economic collapse and helping to heal the wounds of the COVID-19 recession.
As the days begin to get warmer and brighter, I see the arrival of spring as a time of renewal, optimism and hope. We know that the harshest winter days are behind us. For me, this means getting outdoors more frequently to enjoy nature.
This winter has been unlike any other, as we have had to stay apart from loved ones. I know that we have all grown tired of the COVID-19 pandemic and are eager to put this challenging time behind us. While we may not be fully out of the woods just yet, I am confident that we are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Safe and effective vaccines are critical in our fight against COVID-19. Our federal government has been working around the clock to secure doses of the COVID-19 vaccine for Canadians. We are working closely with provinces and territories, who are responsible for vaccine rollout and administration. By the end of June, Canada will have received 23 million doses of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, with a total of 84 million doses arriving by the end of September. Every Canadian who wants a vaccine will have access to one by September 2021.
As we look forward to better days ahead, let’s remember that we must continue to do everything we can to keep one another safe. By keeping apart, wearing a mask and washing our hands, we will get through this health and economic crisis. It will take us all doing our part to keep our families and community safe. Every single one of our efforts matters in the fight against COVID-19.
The holiday season marks a time of joy, festivities and being together with loved ones. As has been the case with many occasions this year, our holidays will look a bit different from what we are used to.
As we near the end of 2020, I know it can be hard to look back and reflect on a year that has been filled with challenges of every kind. Still, I hope that you are still able to embrace the spirit of the holidays and feel grateful for family, friends and the amazing community we live in. If there is a lesson we can take away from the past year, it is to be appreciative of those around us.
The weeks ahead will continue to be difficult, but I am confident that as we head into the new year, there are better and brighter days ahead. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has been approved by Health Canada and is now being distributed to combat COVID-19. Our federal government has worked hard to secure millions of doses of this and other vaccines, so that we will be ready to distribute them once they are approved.
Despite hope on the horizon for an end to the pandemic, we must remember that now is not the time to be complacent about COVID-19. We still must do everything we can to stop the spread of this virus. Remember that the actions we take today will impact those around us. What you do right now could mean the difference between life or death for someone in your community. I know that it is not easy, but we must remain vigilant at this very critical time.
The hardship that small businesses have experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic, and particularly now as Manitoba struggles with a second wave, has been challenging for many in our community.
For the last eight months, small business owners have been incredibly resilient in the face of great adversity. Many within our community are employed by small businesses and rely on them to provide for their families. Small businesses are a critical part of the fabric of our communities, and when small businesses suffer, our entire community does. Simply put, Canada will not see an economic recovery without a real recovery for our small businesses.
Business owners need immediate and significant support from all levels of government. At the federal level of government, we continue to update our assistance measures to ensure that we help hard-hit businesses.
We have extended the wage subsidy until June 2021 to protect jobs across the country. We are providing a new emergency rent subsidy, to ensure businesses and organizations receive direct rent relief, with a generous top-up for those who are required to close due to a public health order. Our CEBA loan program is being expanded to provide more interest-free, partially forgivable loans.
The last several months have been very challenging for many Manitobans, as we continue to fight against the most serious public health and economic crisis of our lifetime.
We are in the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, and now more than ever, we need to protect ourselves and the health of our loved ones.
As a member of Parliament, I know our federal government has an important role to play in protecting the health and safety of Canadians. This includes the procurement of personal protective equipment for front-line workers, improving our health care system and supporting the provinces as they increase COVID-19 testing capacity. We have made significant progress on these issues, with the recent procurement of almost eight million rapid testing kits, as well as increasing domestic supplies of protective equipment.
We know that overcoming this pandemic and building a strong economic recovery requires support for Canadian families and small businesses. Those who remain out of work will continue to receive financial support through a robust, accessible EI system. Additional benefits are available for workers who must take a sick leave or who need to take time off work to care for a child due to facility closures. These benefits will continue to provide stable financial support so that Canadians can pay their bills, put food on the table and support their families.
Each year, the month of September is filled with excitement as students head back for another school year. This year, the back to school season has been undoubtedly different, filled with mixed emotions from parents, children and teachers alike, as we move through our new reality.
As parents and grandparents, I know that we have all spent the past several months worrying about the health and well-being of our children, grandchildren and loved ones. For many children, being isolated and away from friends at school has been a challenge. For many working parents, school closures have resulted in the insurmountable task of balancing both work and childcare duties. In so many different ways, the pandemic has highlighted the need for a safe return to school.
Balancing the need for children to return to school amidst a pandemic is no simple task. Our teachers, support staff and school administrators have been working tirelessly to navigate this uncharted path. They deserve our utmost respect and appreciation for all they have done.
As a government, we know that the uncertainty of the new school year has caused stress and anxiety for many parents. To support families in our community and the schools in our neighbourhood, our government has created the Safe Return to Class fund. Manitoba schools will be receiving $85.41 million through this fund, to be used for the purchasing of personal protective equipment, cleaning supplies, adapted learning spaces, better air ventilation, and hand sanitizing stations.
On Canada Day, the absence of large public gatherings will change how we celebrate, but it will not change why we celebrate.
Every year on July 1, Canadians across the nation come together to mark Canada Day. Typically, folks in our community join in outdoor festivities large and small as we celebrate the country we call home.
This year, Canada Day is special for a number of reasons. It’s the 40th anniversary of O Canada as our official national anthem and it’s been 55 years since the maple leaf became our flag. In Manitoba, it’s the 150th year since Louis Riel led our province in joining confederation.
Canada Day 2020 will stand apart as a unique time in our lives because of what we are doing as individuals and as governments, as we strive to manage our response to the COVID-19 global pandemic.