Economic renewal is key

Economic renewal is key

Cariboo Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett’s regular column for the 100 Mile Free Press

Between flooding, restarting the economy and still living with the pandemic, we are certainly facing uncharted territory on many fronts.

The return of the legislature is no different.

At present, no more than 30 people can be physically present in the chamber at a time. While some MLAs are still travelling to Victoria, the vast majority remain in their constituencies and are taking part ‘virtually.’ This presents its own set of challenges that parliamentarians never envisioned when the rules of procedure were developed over past centuries.

But that does not mean that MLAs are any less effective.

With the outbreak of the pandemic last March, all parties agreed to work together to bend the curve. But now we are beginning to emerge into a different world.

In late June, BC Liberal MLAs joined with small business groups and employers to pressure the government into extending temporary layoff time limits.

Without a time extension, small businesses would have faced even more financial hurdles and many more jobs would have been permanently lost.

After nearly a week of raising the issue during Question Period, the government finally backed down and agreed to avoid potential bankruptcies for thousands of small and medium-sized businesses.

Additionally, since the pandemic began, the BC Liberals have offered more than 60 policy suggestions to government that would help rebuild our economy.

How we navigate our way out of massive deficits and a severely restricted economy is going to be crucial to the livelihoods of thousands of British Columbians.

Thanks to Dr. Bonnie Henry, British Columbia has not been hit as hard as other parts of North America, so we are in a better position than most.

We must, therefore, keep our eye on economic renewal and support small business.

One way or another, we’ll be there to do just that.