Editor:

The pandemic and restriction measures have brought many residents and businesses in southwest Saskatchewan, a huge amount of stress. 

I continue to hear from too many small business owners in our riding who are unsure if they will make it through this crisis. It is difficult, if not impossible, for them to acquire federal support. Conservatives are focused on providing constructive solutions that will fill the gaps in the government’s financial support programs.

We have had several successes so far. Thanks to the persistence of small business advocates and our supportive efforts, the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) was increased from 10% to 75%.  We also pressed the government to expand the eligibility criteria for the $40,000 Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) loan and the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) so that more Canadians qualify.

There is still much more room for improvement. We are calling for a new program to match students with jobs in Canada’s agricultural industries. The government could also refund GST remittances made by small businesses over the last 12 months.  As the pandemic continues, we will need to find the right balance of protecting public health while allowing families and communities to recover with their livelihoods.

In the meantime, residents can help by supporting our local businesses while following the advice of health officials. Join me in shopping local and supporting our retailers. In addition, every Wednesday is Canada Takeout Day. I encourage everyone to support a local restaurant on Takeout Day if you are able.

On the other side of this crisis, it will be the success of small, local businesses that will put Canada on the path to prosperity once again.

Jeremy Patzer, Member of Parliament for Cypress Hills—Grasslands

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