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In-Your-Service

Looking for a plan

I’ve been hearing many stories from residents whose lives and livelihoods have been upended and who have sacrificed so much during this time.

While each of us has been affected in unique ways, everyone I talk to seems to have a similar question of our government - after nine long months, what’s the plan to help us get back to normal? 

Canada has been without a budget now for almost two years and the best the government offered was the recent Fall Economic Statement. We put our hope in the government to deliver a plan to get back to normal, however, they fell very short.

Canada’s unemployment rate is 8.5%, among the highest in the G7. Common sense, clarity, competence, and concrete action rooted in certainty is urgently needed to get us through this time. 

You deserve a plan that will protect your health while ensuring your Canadian Charter rights are upheld. A plan:

  • That will allow you to see family and friends. 
  • To  jump start our economy.
  • For rapid testing, at-home testing, and access to vaccines for those who want them.
  • That reduces regulatory burdens and encourages investment.
  • To spur inter-provincial trade and exports.
  • To keep businesses open and get people back to work.

After numerous conflicting statements by federal ministers, and the government not answering questions, the Conservative Official Opposition brought forth a motion for the government to release their detailed vaccine plan to the public by Dec. 16 on deployment, storage, and distribution. 

Many organizations I talk to express uncertainty with this government’s regulatory regimes and the high cost of energy as primary reasons for not investing in Canada. I talked to a Canadian company recently who opened a new manufacturing facility in the U.S. They said it just made better sense. 

There are tens of billions of dollars of projects on hold in resource and manufacturing sectors due to the current government’s red tape, regulatory regimes, and new policies they are working on that invoke uncertainty. These are all good paying jobs on hold, and many existing jobs are now under threat.

More than a million Canadians are still out of work, and businesses are wondering when and if they will re-open. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business released a statement, saying that one in seven businesses may not survive this second wave of shutdowns. 

The Liberal government has been behind from the start. From shutting down Canada’s world class Pandemic Early Warning System, to being late to close our borders, and failing to provide rapid tests. Now, it’s unable to provide details on vaccination distribution and fixes on many of the government programs will come too late for many.

Until vaccines and rapid testing can be rolled out, the government must do everything it can to create jobs. Conservatives are calling for: 

  • Releasing the complete details of the Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program (HASCAP) by Dec. 16. 
  • Reducing restrictions and amending the interest rate schedule on the Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility (LEEFF) 
  • Postponing the increase of CPP payroll, carbon, and alcohol escalator taxes.

These are all concrete steps the government can take to help businesses and workers during the holidays. 

Our government will continue to hold the government accountable and ask the tough questions. 

In the early panic of the pandemic, local distilleries and others across the country proudly stepped up. They produced thousands of litres of hand sanitizer for first responders and health care workers and gave it away free, while the federal government spent $375 million on bringing in non-Canadian hand sanitizer.

It’s important we support our local small businesses who have contributed so much during this time. 

I will continue to stand up for answers and advocate for legislation that supports workers and entrepreneurs. Please reach out to me with your thoughts. 

If you need any assistance with programs or have any thoughts to share, feel free to reach out. 250-470-5075 or [email protected]

Stay Well. 

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About the Author

Tracy Gray, MP for Kelowna-Lake Country, is the Official Opposition’s Shadow Minister for Export Promotion and International Trade.

She also serves on the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology, and is a member of the National Caucus Committees Credit Union Caucus, Wine Caucus, and Aviation Caucus.

Gray, who has won the RBC Canadian Woman Entrepreneur of the year, and Kelowna Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Award, worked for 27 years in the B.C. beverage industry.

She founded and owned Discover Wines VQA Wine Stores, which included the No. 1 wine store in B.C. for 13 years. She has been involved in small businesses in different sectors — financing, importing, oil and gas services and a technology start-up — and is among the “100 New Woman Pioneers in B.C."

Gray was a Kelowna city councillor for the 2014 term, on the Passenger Transportation Board 2010-2012, and elected to the board of Prospera Credit Union for 10 years.

In addition, she served on the Okanagan Film Commission, Clubhouse Childcare Society, Kelowna Chamber of Commerce, Okanagan Regional Library as a Trustee and was chair of the Okanagan Basin Water Board.

She volunteers extensively in the community and welcomes connecting with residents.

She can be reached at 250-470-5075, and [email protected]



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The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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