Helping small business and getting the economy back on track

Martin Shields Cutput

As you know, we’ve seen the renewal of some pandemic lockdown measures recently. There’s been a lot in the news, and I wanted to share some of the things we have been debating in the House of Commons, as well as what we’re doing to fight for businesses and the economy during the lockdowns.

The House of Commons continues to be in session in a hybrid manner. This means sometimes I am representing you in-person in Ottawa, and sometimes I am joining debate virtually. I prefer to be in Ottawa as much as I can, but we currently operate in week-long shifts to limit the number of MPs in the House of Commons at any one time. Whether in our riding or in Ottawa, I am continuing to work on your behalf, and holding virtual meetings at every opportunity.

We have been debating some contentious legislation in the House, like Bills C-6 and C-7. Further, as part of my role on the Canadian Heritage committee, we have been investigating the pandemic’s impact on our sports and cultural sectors. With fairs and festivals shut down, the cultural industry is hurting. And as we know, many sports leagues aren’t able to operate in a normal way. My colleagues and I are committed to ensuring we don’t see these vital parts of our community life disappear.

One of the biggest issues my colleagues and I are fighting for is the treatment of small and medium businesses. More than three weeks ago, the House of Commons passed a Conservative motion to pause Justin Trudeau’s punishing audits on small and medium businesses. And yet the Liberals have completely ignored the democratic will of Parliament and failed to stop punitive audits on businesses struggling to survive past Christmas, including many in our riding.

These businesses are the backbone of the Canadian economy, and the owners, workers and customers of these small businesses are our neighbours and our friends. In towns and villages across our riding, these businesses are the lifeblood of their community. There is no Canadian economy without small and medium businesses. It’s as simple as that. That’s why we are fighting for businesses and entrepreneurs at every opportunity.

We are also pressing hard on rapid testing and vaccine availability. Eleven months after news about the spread of COVID-19 emerged, after thousands of lives and millions of jobs have been lost, and hundreds of billions of dollars has been added to the national debt, the health and economy of our country is much worse. We are in this position because the government failed to give Canadians the ability to rapidly and frequently test for COVID-19; failed to tell Canadians how they plan to deliver a vaccine; and failed to be transparent with Canadians about their plan to deal with the pandemic.

We need to get this economy working again. Rapid testing and vaccination options are a key way that will happen quickly. Widespread access to rapid testing for all Canadians would allow us to stop the spread of the virus while allowing workers to go to their jobs and for families to be reunited. On vaccines, the reality is that Canada is behind the U.S., U.K, the European Union. That’s over 2.7 billion people or one-third of the population of the planet that is ahead of Canada for a vaccine.

My Opposition colleagues and I are working hard to make sure businesses survive this lockdown, and that Canadians have access to the tests and vaccines we need to get our economy back on track.

As always, my Ottawa office can be reached at martin.shields@parl.gc.ca. My Brooks office can be reached at 403-793-6775 or martin.shields.c1@parl.gc.ca, and my Strathmore office at 403-361-2980 or martin.shields.c1B@parl.gc.ca. Please don’t hesitate to contact me.