Provincial Business Supports Must be Doubled and Based on Need

December 22, 2021

Statement from Dougald Lamont, Manitoba Liberal Leader and MLA for St. Boniface, on provincial business support announcement:

"Manitoba businesses aren't going under because of bad management or competition. They are going under because the PCs are choosing to bankrupt them by making it impossible for them to earn money.

At a minimum, these supports should be doubled. It's the fourth wave of the pandemic and the PCs are still trying to use a water pistol to put out a forest fire. Unless the Manitoba Government steps up with real help to businesses and workers based on need, not just employees, we are going to see devastation across Manitoba's small businesses. It will set the recovery back years.

When a government forces a business to close because of an emergency, or makes it impossible for people to earn a living, they need to compensate people and do what they can to ensure that business or job isn't gone for good.

Governments can make up for these measures by being the customer. The Manitoba Government could be buying meals from restaurants and donating them to seniors' homes or homeless shelters, or renting hotel rooms and donating them to front line workers. That way businesses get revenue, workers get paid, people get fed and housed, and taxpayers get something for their money.

Instead, the PCs have added hundreds of millions of dollars to the debt and deficit to give more money to people who don't need a break, while refusing to help those who do. They are adding billions in debt to cut cheques to major corporations and the wealthiest homeowners, which the rest of us will have to pay off.

Behind every business there is an owner and a family, and for the Manitoba PCs to claim their business supports are generous is simply a lie. I have spoken to plenty of business owners who never qualified for a dime in provincial support, and who have gone under as a result. This should not be happening.

Every business that is driven under by the PCs is one that will not be around to contribute to the recovery. People will lose their jobs and their houses. We have been telling them this since March, 2020, when we first asked for the PCs to ensure that people and businesses they were forcing to close could still pay their bills.

If the PCs were actually learning anything from their mistakes, they would be better at handling this, but they are arguably getting worse. The Stefanson PCs are taking months to make decisions that should happen in a day."


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