Supporting people and businesses the only option
Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 14/04/2021 (776 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
It was back on Jan. 4, 2020, that the World Health Organization tweeted, based on a report it had received that “Investigations are underway to identify the cause of this illness.”
The weeks that followed saw countries around the world reporting on how quickly this novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, was spreading. We were initially told masks were not necessary but that we had to wash our hands a lot more.
How things have changed. Let there be no doubt there will be a new normal when things do get better.
We all had decisions to make with respect to the things we did, whether inside or outside our homes. Jobs, families, businesses and so much more were going to be impacted. It became clearly that the severity of the impact was going to depend on decisions made by governments.
Well over 80 per cent of new monies allocated to fight COVID-19 have come from Ottawa, as we had to react quickly and make a choice. The federal government chose to support people, as we recognized that government is better able to absorb the economic shocks than individuals. We knew we had to step in and make sure that people could still pay rent and that families could keep food on the kitchen table. Even though many people never stopped working, well over eight million people needed direct help in one program alone because of employment lost.
I think we can all agree that caring is a Canadian value. We have a long tradition of caring for our neighbours and supporting each other through hard times. We see this spirit every day in north Winnipeg — through our community groups such as the Bear Clan, through the churches and gurdwaras that have stepped up to deliver food and support our seniors in so many ways.
For our government, supporting people when they needed it most meant expanding employment insurance and creating historic new programs like the Canada Emergency Response Benefit and Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy.
The CEWS alone saved tens of thousands of jobs, in addition to other support programs for businesses. Even thinking past the terrible impact that this would have had on countless families, this means that businesses were able to keep operating in some capacity. It means that they can maintain their workforces and be ready to spring back into action as things improve.
For those who could not work, the CERB was there to ensure that they could still pay their monthly bills. This program provided great relief to families who now knew they had a safety net, even if their industry was impacted. One in every five Manitobans depended on the CERB.
Can you imagine the terrible suffering we would have seen in our community if one in every five people were suddenly unemployed with no support, at risk of losing their home and depending on a food bank?
By providing financial support directly to people and supporting businesses directly, we are ready to spring into recovery on the other side of the pandemic.
To have not supported people and businesses during the pandemic would have cost our society far more than we spent.
Winnipeg North constituency report
Kevin Lamoureux is the Liberal Member of Parliament for Winnipeg North.