Time for people over profit

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 01/12/2020 (738 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

The pandemic has been difficult for most of us. My neighbours are suffering every day, with many individuals and families in Winnipeg Centre facing increased food insecurity, housing and work unpredictability. The supports provided have been exclusionary and inadequate, while some have been left behind completely.

But for the wealthiest in Canada, COVID-19 has proven to be very profitable. The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives recently found that the 20 wealthiest people in the country amassed $37 billion in profits during the first six months of the pandemic. The Thomson and Weston families top that list.

Despite being one of the largest COVID-19 profiteers, Galen Weston, the chairman of Loblaws, recently ended the pay premium provided to front-line grocery store workers at the start of the pandemic. This is abhorrent, and yet another example of how we are not “all in this together” as the current government has claimed; corporations are profiting off this crisis, while many are forced deeper into poverty.  

We know that for many of our neighbours, following public health guidelines is impossible because they cannot access housing.

That is why on Nov. 5, my NDP colleagues in the House of Commons and I submitted a motion that called for the implementation of a wealth tax on individuals with fortunes over $20 million, and an excess profits tax on big corporations that have made money from this crisis. Our survival and recovery from this pandemic should not be funded by those most impacted, but by the people profiting off of this crisis.

Our motion also called on parliament to fund necessary and urgently needed investments in our social safety net, such as: a guaranteed livable basic income, universal pharmacare, universal dental dare, and adequate investments in social housing to ensure the right to housing is realized.

Both the Liberals and Conservatives voted against the motion. In doing so, they voted to protect Canada’s wealthiest instead of the individuals and families being hit hardest by the pandemic, including: BIPOC individuals, women, seniors, 2SLGBTQ+ individuals, persons with disabilities, migrant workers, students, and those forced into precarious and dangerous employment and living situations.

It is time that we prioritize people over corporations, and public safety over profits.

Leah Gazan

Leah Gazan
Winnipeg Centre constituency report

Leah Gazan is the NDP Member of Parliament for Winnipeg Centre.

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