We have just left a very difficult year behind us. The COVID-19 pandemic upended many of our lives.
We had to rethink the holidays, Christmas and New Year’s traditions. We’ve been unable to gather with loved ones or visit our favourite stores, restaurants, and entertainment spots. Many small businesses in Manitoba are struggling or have closed their doors forever, impacting thousands of people who had good, stable jobs.
After hundreds of phone conversations with many of you over the past few months, I know that worry and anxiety are touching families in every part of our community.
However, through the challenges, the community has shown how resilient we are. Countless local charitable groups, places of worship, seniors’ centres, private citizens and small businesses have stepped up and adapted to the pandemic to help out our neighbours in need.
I recently had the opportunity to support local businesses through a community-based initiative in East St. Paul that organized the purchase of gift cards from our local businesses. Almost $9,000 was raised, and I am so proud of the giving nature of our neighbours.
Canadians have had each other’s backs, and Conservatives have had yours.
Since the start of the pandemic, we worked with the government to pass crucial support measures and made constructive recommendations whenever we could.
I advocated for a significant increase to the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy from 10 per cent to 75 per cent to our local businesses so they could keep workers employed. I called for major reforms to the Liberals’ commercial rent relief program and to the Canada Emergency Business Account loan that left out local small businesses as they struggled to keep their doors open in 2020. Thankfully, the Liberal government listened to this advocacy and implemented these changes.
In 2021, Conservatives will continue to fulfil our duty as the official Opposition and hold the Liberal government to account to deliver a coherent plan to provide free COVID-19 vaccinations to every Canadian who wants one, rapid-testing, and financial support to those in need.
I am thankful for the opportunity to continue to represent the strong and resilient community of Kildonan-St. Paul in the House of Commons. Under the leadership of Erin O’Toole, my colleagues and I are working hard every day to ensure Canada doesn’t just survive this pandemic — but thrives afterwards. You deserve no less.
Kildonan-St. Paul constituency report
Raquel Dancho is the Conservative MP for Kildonan-St. Paul.