MP Randall Garrison (Courtesy Randall Garrison)

MP Randall Garrison (Courtesy Randall Garrison)

MP REPORT: We can’t let down our guard in fight against pandemic

MP Randall Garrison says more must be done to protect Canadians from economic fallout from COVID-19

Randall Garrison

Member of Parliament for Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke

As 2020 comes to a close, we have reason to hope that the COVID-19 pandemic will begin to improve with the rollout of some initial doses of vaccine, but in the meantime we must redouble our efforts to reduce transmission and follow public health guidelines to keep ourselves, our loved ones, frontline workers, and the most vulnerable safe. We must not let down our guard this close to the finish line, and I encourage you all to be safe and stop the spread of COVID-19 by following all public health orders and guidelines.

I write this hours after the first British Columbian was vaccinated for COVID-19 on Dec. 15. This was the result of the incredible labour and dedication of researchers and scientists who have put in outstanding work to ensure that a safe and effective vaccine could reach the public in record time. As frontline workers are first to be vaccinated, this is also an opportunity to reflect on their sacrifices and redouble our commitment to ensuring that they have the wages and support that they deserve to do the important work they do in our communities.

This year, along with Jagmeet Singh and the NDP team, I am proud to have fought hard for significant improvements to federal government initiatives providing vital support during this pandemic.

The NDP was successful in obtaining the following for Canadians since March:

CERB at $2,000 instead of a $1,000 EI benefit

Increases to OAS and GIS

Two weeks paid sick leave

Canada Emergency Student Benefit

75 per cent wage subsidy

$2 billion for schools and daycare centres

Interest relief on student loans

The pandemic is far from over, and the NDP is continuing to work hard to ensure that ordinary Canadians can come out on the other side of this in one piece. We are pushing for a wealth tax and pandemic profits tax, as we believe it is unconscionable that the wealthiest among us and large corporations have turned unprecedented profits while far too many Canadians have lost their livelihoods and continue to struggle.

We know how important pharmacare is, especially as many Canadians have now lost the stable employment they relied on for extended health coverage, and we are pressing the Liberal government to bring in a comprehensive, universal, national pharmacare program.

In order to ensure that no one is left behind while we recover from this pandemic and the economic fallout, the NDP is also proposing the first steps towards a guaranteed livable income by creating a new national income support program that would lift all people with disabilities out of poverty. We will continue to fight for those Canadians who have been forgotten — including Canadians with disabilities, seniors, students and far too many others.

It is an honour to serve the people of Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke, and I extend my gratitude to you all for the dedication, solidarity, and resilience that you have shown in the face of incredible challenges. I will continue to be inspired by this spirit, as I work hard to advocate for the improvements and legislation that Canadians need in 2021.

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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Royal Roads University president Philip Steenkamp said they are aware of hateful graffiti spray-painted in an area of the forest surrounding the campus. The graffiti in question includes anti-Semitic content and a racial slur towards Black people. (Facebook/Royal Roads University)
Anti-Semitic, hateful graffiti spotted in forest near Royal Roads University

Royal Roads working with West Shore RCMP to remove graffiti “as soon as possible”

A cougar was spotted at Royal Roads University on Sunday, Jan. 24. The sighting was reported on the western edge of the campus. (File photo)
Cougar spotted at Royal Roads University Sunday afternoon

Animal reported on western side of campus near Langford Fire Department

Saanich-based St. Luke’s Players community theatre company has been making the most of their opportunities to keep busy during the pandemic, including staging a Christmastime panto of Alice in Wonderland on Zoom. (Courtesy St. Luke’s Players)
Saanich’s St. Luke’s Players: Bringing the stage to the people

Community theatre company holding online auditions Jan. 23-24 for March production

Frank Bourree was awarded the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce’s first Governors’ Award of Distinction for his leadership in the business community. (Courtesy of Frank Bourree)
Frank Bourree receives award of distinction from Victoria chamber

Award recognizes positive role model in business community

The Habitat for Humanity Meaning of Home contest is open to students in Grades 5 to 6. (Screenshot/Habitat for Humanity video)
Habitat for Humanity launches national writing contest

Entries accepted from students in Grades 4 to 6 until Feb. 19

Terrance Josephson of the Princeton Posse, at left, and Tyson Conroy of the Summerland Steam clash during a Junior B hockey game at the Summerland Arena in the early spring of 2020. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Test your knowledge of Canada’s national winter sport

A woman injects herself with crack cocaine at a supervised consumption site Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Drug users at greater risk of dying as services scale back in second wave of COVID-19

It pins the blame largely on a lack of supports, a corrupted drug supply

Wet’suwet’en supporters and Coastal GasLink opponents continue to protest outside the B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, February 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
‘We’re still in it’: Wet’suwet’en push forward on rights recognition

The 670-km Coastal GasLink pipeline was approved by B.C. and 20 elected First Nations councils on its path

The sky above Mt. Benson in Nanaimo is illuminated by flares as search and rescuers help an injured hiker down the mountain to a waiting ambulance. (Photo courtesy Nanaimo Search and Rescue)
Search plane lights up Nanaimo mountain with flares during icy rope rescue

Rescuers got injured hiker down Mt. Benson to a waiting ambulance Saturday night

Jennifer Cochrane, a Public Health Nurse with Prairie Mountain Health in Virden, administers the COVID-19 vaccine to Robert Farquhar with Westman Regional Laboratory, during the first day of immunizations at the Brandon COVID-19 vaccination supersite in Brandon, Man., on Monday, January 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tim Smith - POOL
Top doctor urges Canadians to keep up with COVID measures, even as vaccines roll out

More than 776,606 vaccines have been administered so far

From the left: Midway RCMP Csts. Jonathan Stermscheg and Chris Hansen, Public Servant Leanne Mclaren and Cpl. Phil Peters. Pictured in the front are Mclaren’s dog, Lincoln and Peters’ dog, Angel. Photo courtesy of BC RCMP
B.C. Mounties commended for bringing firewood to elderly woman

Cpl. Phil Peters said he and detachment members acted after the woman’s husband went to hospital

Dr. Jerome Leis and Dr. Lynfa Stroud are pictured at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto on Thursday, January 21, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
‘It wasn’t called COVID at the time:’ One year since Canada’s first COVID-19 case

The 56-year-old man was admitted to Toronto’s Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

An Uber driver’s vehicle is seen after the company launched service, in Vancouver, Friday, Jan. 24, 2020. Several taxi companies have lost a court bid to run Uber and Lyft off the road in British Columbia. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Taxi companies lose court bid to quash Uber, Lyft approvals in British Columbia

Uber said in a statement that the ruling of the justice is clear and speaks for itself

Nanaimo Regional General Hospital. (News Bulletin file photo)
COVID-19 outbreak declared at Nanaimo hospital

Two staff members and one patient have tested positive, all on the same floor

Most Read