Local MPs react to throne speech

Merna Emara

Although there will be no short-term election after the NDP party reached a deal with the Liberals on sick leaves, the latter party is not out of the woods when it comes to what local Conservative and Liberal members of Parliament said of the Liberal party’s performance during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Thunder Bay-Rainy River Liberal MP Marcus Powlowski said the best way to help the economy is to address the public health issue.
“Another important thing for Fort Frances and Rainy River is there was a commitment for further support for businesses most affected by the pandemic and specifically the travel and tourism industry,” Powlowski said.
“That’s been something I have been advocating for a number of months. What form this further assistance will take is yet to be determined. I know that the people in the tourism sector were most affected. They said they do not want more loans. They want grant money.”
Powlowski said the money that is used to help can be made up for by proposing a wealth tax and eliminating stock option deductions, a way rich individuals opt for to avoid paying taxes.
However, Eric Melillo, Conservative MP for the Kenora riding, said the speech was incredibly disappointing because it provided no details about how the Liberals intend to achieve the goals oulined in the speech and no commitments to the infrastructure investments the northwestern region needs.
Melillo said the Liberal government missed an adequate plan to address the COVID-19 health crisis.
“The response to the pandemic has been slow. We know that they found out in December about the severity of the pandemic and they mishandled our [personal protective equipment] and our health supply,” Melillo said.
“We have also not seen any plans to get the economy going again. They have announced more and an extension of the same program which many businesses across our riding and Canada have been falling through the cracks. It is not providing them the opportunity to stay afloat.”
Having already bypassed potential election, Melillo said trying to force an election has not been the Conservatives’ primary goal.
“Justin Trudeau had the opportunity to present a plan to gain support from the House of Commons and he had the opportunity to put forward a new plan. He failed to deliver on that,” Melillo said.