The last few months have seen Canada’s Liberal government bungle vaccine procurement in addition to mechanisms for small business recovery, all while plunging the country into a nearly $400 billion deficit. A pandemic requires spending, yes, but it requires smart and targeted spending that addresses the needs of Canadians without wasting resources on political experiments.
Right now, the federal government should be concerned with two things: getting effective vaccines to Canadians and ensuring that small businesses and individuals alike are able to sustain themselves for the time being. This is not the time to be wasting resources on vanity projects and virtue signalling efforts like a “Green recovery” and “Feminist agenda”. Of course, moving toward a more climate considerate way of doing things is important and the same goes for alleviating inequalities and glass ceilings that exist in society, but the only priorities at this point in time must be public health and keeping the economy flowing, full stop.
If progress is going to be made, it has to be accepted that spending is required, and a lot of it, but the funds should be addressing areas of need that specifically target the two priorities of public health and economic fluidity. Further, while everyone needs support in these trying times, it has to be recognized that some individuals and some businesses need it more than others. Big businesses and wealthy individuals can afford to take a short-term financial hit, while for others, the same circumstance will be more than just an inconvenience. It may force some into homelessness and some small businesses, so central to their communities, to shut down permanently.
This government has been generous in its wage subsidy and rent supports, which focus on the financial security of small businesses and their employees. Despite this, this Liberal administration is failing to recognize that the way to strengthen this economy is not by injecting it with deceptive funds, but instead to chart a path forward that allows all businesses and workers to go back to work in a safe yet still productive manner. Responding to these ineffective ‘quick fixes’ that the Liberals are putting in place, Conservative leader, Erin O’Toole spoke to the fact that, “Canadians don’t want the CERB, they want the ability to get their lives back and to get back to work.” People should not be forced to depend on government supports only to barely get by, they must be afforded a safe opportunity to get back to work and produce for themselves and their families a comfortable living from their own merits and work ethic.
Massive investments being made in arts and entertainment, environmental experimentation, and black entrepreneurship are all welcome and encouraged, but this is not the time. Now is a time for fiscal focus, not trial and error. Canadians deserve a thriving arts industry, and they deserve environmentally conscious yet financially favourable lifestyles, and black Canadians deserve the entrepreneurial opportunities and access to funds that they are sometimes not provided with to succeed. But having said that, if federal finances are diluted into such undertakings as we struggle with unprecedented uncertainty on a daily basis, Canada’s economy will not make it through this pandemic, and none of these progressive measures will ever have a chance to come to fruition for the Canadians that deserve them.
While financial supports need to be centred around small business in the short term, major attention and resources are required in securing the vaccine procurement process which this Liberal government is notoriously mishandling. With other leading western countries like the United States, the United Kingdom, and Germany, among others, set to begin rolling out vaccines in the coming weeks and months, this Liberal administration can’t even provide Canadians with a consistent answer on when we may begin to see vaccines in Canada. Despite claims that Canada is at the back of the line of vaccine distribution in comparison to other G7 and G20 nations, vaccine developer Moderna’s chairman, Noubar Afeyan told the CBC that “Canada is not at the back of the line.” Still though, without clarity from the Liberals, Canadians are left wondering when their lives will start to get back to normal.
The Trudeau Liberals are freezing up in the most trying times, and if this inaction by the administration persists through the winter without a vaccine, its uncertain how the state of the economy let alone public health will evolve by the springtime. The fact of the matter is that Canadians have a right to know the timeline for vaccine procurement and must not be kept in the dark by this government any longer. Without any knowledge or understanding of how this critical process is unfolding, opposition parliamentarians, along with provinces and local authorities, have no information with which to support this process in any way they can. Alienating the democratic process in such times that call desperately for nonpartisan cooperation and unity, the federal Liberals are failing to deliver for Canadians.