Randall Garrison Contributed

GARRISON: MP pushing hard for COVID-19 relief

Government must step in and make sure everyone makes it out of this crisis, says Randall Garrison

Randall Garrison | Contributed

For six months, I have worked with countless residents and small businesses from my riding, who continue to face significant challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

I have heard from people who have lost their jobs, are struggling to keep their businesses afloat, are separated from family members, are worried about how they will educate and care for their children or are facing health concerns.

As I have worked hard to advocate for the people that I represent, I have been struck by your incredible resilience and the ways that you have adapted and learned to support each other through these challenging times.

ALSO READ: Parliament prorogued, confidence coming on throne speech, says Trudeau

I will continue to do everything I can to advocate for you, as we face these uncertain times.

From the intense uncertainty in March to the trepidation that many feel about the fall and increasing case numbers now, one thing has been clear: we are all weathering the same storm, but we are not all in the same boat.

It is the role of government to step in and make sure that everyone makes it out of this crisis.

To that end, my NDP colleagues and I pushed hard for programs such as the Canada Emergency Benefit (CERB) and support for small businesses, students, seniors, and Canadians with disabilities.

ALSO READ: COVID-19 dominates the rhetoric, and the reality, of MPs on Parliament Hill

Now, as the Liberal government has chosen to prorogue Parliament just when the CERB is about to run out and cold and flu season is upon us, the Liberals have still not followed through on their promise of paid sick leave. I am very concerned for my constituents.

I will be ready when Parliament resumes on Sept. 23 to fight hard to ensure that people who need support continue to get it.

Rather than face the WE Charity Scandal (Trudeau’s third round of ethics scandals), the Liberals chose to take a tactic straight out of Stephen Harper’s playbook and prorogue Parliament.

The result of this botched WE plan left students without assistance they badly need, and the cynical maneuvers to cover it up have caused critical delays in our pandemic response. This delay is especially concerning as the CERB is set to run out this month, and we still do not have paid sick leave for all workers.

In the spring, my NDP colleagues and I pushed very hard to extract a promise from the Liberals that they would provide paid sick leave for all workers, but they have yet to follow through on this.

With Parliament resuming well into what usually is already the start of cold and flu season, I am very frustrated that the Liberal government is leaving far too many workers to choose between making ends meet and potentially spreading COVID-19 in their workplaces. No one should be left unable to pay their bills for doing the right thing and staying home.

When Parliament resumes, I will be ready to work with Jagmeet Singh and the NDP caucus to fight for our vision of a just and sustainable Canada where no one is left behind, and we can all weather this storm.

My NDP colleagues and I will be ready to fight for the shift from CERB to other programs such as EI that does not leave anyone behind. We will be adamant that the Liberals swiftly make good on their promise to provide paid sick leave.

Knowing how hard this pandemic has been on children and families who are already burdened with the high cost of childcare, we will be pushing for universal childcare to be part of the recovery strategy.

New Democrats will fight for a green recovery and are calling for an end to fossil fuel subsidies and investments in job-creating renewable energy projects across the country.

We will continue to make universal pharmacare, dental, and eye care our priorities, and we will promote a wealth tax to make sure that ordinary Canadians are not saddled with the bill or faced with austerity to pay back the necessary short-term borrowing.

I am eager to get back to work in the House of Commons and make sure that my constituents have the support they need to make it through the COVID-19 crisis. We can make choices that will ensure no one is left behind and that our recovery efforts work to build a more sustainable, just and healthy Canada, and I will be fighting for these choices every step of the way.


Randall Garrison is the Member of Parliament for Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke.


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