NEW WESTMINSTER – Today, NDP Finance Critic Peter Julian used his time at the House of Commons Finance Committee meeting to call on the Finance Minister to stop dragging their feet, get financial support to people who need it and use their power to make the banks waive interest fees and charges on credit cards, mortgages, and bank loans for the period of the crisis.
“We were encouraged when the government looked like they were answering our call to increase the wage subsidy to 75%, but the government has not acted with the urgency Canadians need. The six week wait the government announced will force many businesses to close and more workers to lose their jobs,” said Julian. “The delay in applying for and getting the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit is also way too long and could have been avoided if the government had just sent a direct benefit of $2,000 to every adult across the country. Now is the time for action. Not for excuses.”
While millions of Canadians are worried about how they’ll pay the bills while they self-isolate in their homes, millions of others are still working on the front lines of the healthcare system and working to keep the rest of us safe, fed, and in touch with the outside world. Many of those people do this work for minimum wage. Julian called for a federal subsidy to these workers in recognition of the essential service they are providing to all Canadians.
“The federal government should make sure that every Canadian who is being asked to work during this pandemic is paid at very least $15 per hour as a minimum wage and they should be getting a 20 percent top up in recognition of the risks they are facing for the rest of us,” said Julian.
Julian pointed out, weeks ago, the government was quick to bail out big businesses and corporations. And, despite assurances from the Finance Minister, the major banks and credit card companies have still not responded to the federal government’s requests to help Canadians through these uncertain times.
“People are struggling with their rent, mortgages, and bills. It is not enough to say help is on the way weeks from now or to just ask the banks nicely to reduce interest on credit cards and mortgages,” said Julian. “In these unprecedented times, the government needs to do all it can to make sure Canadians can focus on their health, the health of their families, and doing what it takes to get us through this pandemic, instead of being forced to worry about their bills.”