Securing our future

A data-driven plan and securing our future

It has been more than a year since the start of the pandemic, and with many businesses still struggling and friends and family apart, it can sometimes be difficult to remain optimistic.

But as winter melts away, and Kelowna-Lake Country residents look ahead, I hear every day that people are looking for hope and a practical path to recovery.

It’s that time of the year when we all sit down and begin the process of filing our taxes.

To protect yourself against fraud, it’s important to be vigilant when receiving phone calls, mail, texts, or emails from someone claiming to be with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).

If you search, "Slam the scam — protect yourself against fraud,” you’ll find an informative section on the CRA’s website on tips to recognize and protect yourself from a scam.

I was able to ask questions in the House of Commons last week about two topics — Buy American restrictions and vaccine export controls.

First, government representatives state they are only negotiating sector specific exceptions from Buy American policies, meaning the federal government will be handpicking which sectors (and potentially which businesses) fail or succeed.

Conservatives were able to negotiate a full exemption in 2009. Without an exemption, Canadian manufacturing jobs are at risk of moving south of the border.

Second, we have a right to be concerned and need assurances about the export measures being put on vaccine exports from the European Union and India, and how this may affect shipments to Canada.

I also had the opportunity to make another statement in the House of Commons about the affects of lockdowns on businesses. This time, I focused on local fitness and martial arts owners who have been hit especially hard.

As Conservatives, we called on the federal government to present a clear, data-driven plan to support the gradual, safe, and permanent lifting of COVID-19 restrictions.

Many businesses are on the brink and family and friends remain separated. I’ve heard from many constituents about the pandemic’s severe impact on their mental health.

Our communities have sacrificed so much and we need a plan for hope.

Conservatives led Canada through the last recession. As we look forward, we are once again putting forth a recovery plan that champions workers, families, and communities.

Here are our five priorities for Canada to secure the future.

Secure Jobs:

  • Take immediate action to help the hardest hit sectors (including women and young Canadians who have been impacted the most)
  • Assist small business and provide incentives to invest in, rebuild, and start new businesses

Secure accountability:

  • Toughen the Conflict of Interest Act and impose higher penalties
  • Toughen the Lobbying Act to end abuse by insiders

Secure mental health:

  • Boost funding to the provinces for mental health care
  • Provide incentives to employers to provide mental health coverage to employees

Secure our country:

  • Partner with pharmaceutical companies to increase production of critical medicines
  • Strengthen domestic production of PPE
  • Overhaul and rebuild Canada’s National Emergency Stockpile System

Secure Canada’s economy

  • Responsibly wind down emergency COVID support programs as Canadians are vaccinated and the economy re-opens
  • Ensure that stimulus measures are targeted and time limited

The approach we are taking is rooted in security, certainty, and accountability, not untested economic models. Time and time again this government has demonstrated an Ottawa-knows-best-approach.

You can see my continued “small business spotlight” features that I post on social media.

It’s also been wonderful to be out in the community again (safely) such as volunteering in Joe Rich at a community-led initiative and at a Rutland community spring clean up.

During the next few weeks, many Kelowna-Lake Country residents will be celebrating significant religious holidays including Passover, Holi, and Easter. While these holidays will be different than in years past, I wish you and your family meaningful celebrations in what way you can.

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

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.


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About the Author

Tracy Gray, Conservative MP for Kelowna-Lake Country, is the official Opposition’s critic for Small Business Recovery and Growth.

She is a member of the national caucus committee’s credit union caucus, wine caucus, and aviation caucus.

Gray, who has won the RBC Canadian Woman Entrepreneur of the Year Award, and the 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, sat on the Passenger Transportation Board from 2010-2012 and was elected to the board of Prospera Credit Union for 10 years.

In addition, she served on the boards of the Okanagan Film Commission, Clubhouse Childcare Society, Kelowna Chamber of Commerce, Okanagan Regional Library and was chairwoman 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]


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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