During the last several weeks, there’s been considerable speculation that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is engineering a fall election. There are many signs an election is looming, including the fact that the Prime Minister and his Liberal government will be delivering a Speech from the Throne on September 23rd, which is typically presented by a government to open each new session of Parliament following an election campaign and not a year into its mandate. However, now’s not the time for an election when Canadians need their government, now more than ever, to work together with opposition parties to provide effective, strong leadership.
It’s been over six months since the COVID-19 pandemic struck Canada. Millions of Canadians and their families have been terribly impacted, not to mention thousands and thousands of small businesses, here in Dufferin-Caledon, and across the country. While many Canadians have benefitted from the COVID-19 programs, countless Canadians continue to be forgotten in the Liberals’ COVID-19 Economic Response Plan. Small business owners, farmers, and many others are still struggling to make it. These are just a few reasons why now is not the time for the Trudeau government to trigger an election. Canadians need and expect the government and opposition parties to work together to address the gaps in existing programs and to improve them.
It’s clear that Justin Trudeau has no plan to help Canadians return to work or to restart our economy. His current approach of shuffling Canadians between programs is not a plan. It is unacceptable that the Trudeau government announced these changes days after locking out MPs and shutting down Parliament to block investigations into the WE Scandal. Canadians have serious questions about how we will move forward and how it will affect them. They deserve transparency and clear answers. Millions of Canadians are still unemployed and eager to return to work. Businesses want to reopen and welcome back staff and customers, but instead of fixing or improving their programs and outlining a plan to restart our economy, the Trudeau Liberals continue to let Canadians down by shuttering Parliament.
If the Prime Minister and his Liberal government force an election, this will be a huge setback for small businesses and Canadians who need clear, decisive action from their government. An election would delay any further steps to support them, potentially for months. Small businesses cannot wait that long, which I consistently hear from small businesses in this riding. Some industries, especially the restaurant and travel industries, have been particularly hard hit by the pandemic. For example, more than 60 per cent of Canada’s restaurants are at risk of being forced to close permanently by November, according to government data. The travel industry, which includes independently owned travel agencies here in Dufferin-Caledon and the people they employ, continues to be in dire need of sector-specific relief, as a result of closed borders, travel advisories warning Canadians against travel during the pandemic, and general fears about travelling. These industries and many others cannot wait for an election period to be over and for a new government to be formed before finally receiving support.
The COVID-19 pandemic has, in many ways, brought us closer together and has made us stronger as a country. When we work together, we also become more united. Canadian families and small businesses expect their federal government to work together with opposition parties to put the needs of hardworking Canadians first before partisan games, lead our nation out of this crisis, and to rebuild our great country. We need a real plan which keeps Canadians safe, creates jobs, and puts our economy on the path to recovery to restore hope, not a fall election.