Small business recovery after the pandemic has been a consistent talking point among candidates ahead of the federal election.

Here’s how each candidate running for the Parry Sound-Muskoka seat in parliament answered the following question:

As case numbers drop and vaccination rates rise, people are thinking about what our communities will look like at the end of the COVID-19 pandemic. How will you support small businesses as they look to recover from the past year and a half?

MP Scott Aitchison. Photo supplied.

Conservative incumbent Scott Aitchison says:

Reopening does not necessarily mean recovery, which means we can’t take anything for granted. Here in Parry Sound-Muskoka, we have a seasonal economy. Our hospitality, tourism and summer camp sectors have been hit especially hard. We need to strategically extend and apply federal and provincial government supports for where they are needed most. I am

also working with local community and business leaders as well as municipal officials to develop local approaches to reopening our economy. One of our biggest challenges right now is a labour shortage, compounded by a shortage of affordable housing in our area. I believe we need to take a comprehensive approach to our post COVID economic challenges and opportunities.”

(Source: jovanienicoyishakiye. liberal.ca)

Liberal candidate Jovanie Nicoyishakiye says the Liberal’s day care program will allow Canadians to return to work, as well as create new jobs.

According to Nicoyishakiye, the Liberal government has worked hard during the pandemic to provide financial support for people who lost their jobs, as well as supplying Canadians with personal protective equipment and vaccines for anyone who wanted the shot.

“Our communities are experiencing economic uncertainty, but we know that Justin Trudeau and the Liberal team have a very strong plan with concrete and detailed actions that will ensure that our economy rolls back quickly,” says Nicoyishakiye. 

She adds that the party’s climate plan will create “good jobs that pay better.”

(Photo supplied by NDP Parry Sound/Muskoka)

New Democratic Party candidate Heather Hay says the party will continue the wage subsidies it fought for during the pandemic, as well as expand healthcare to cover dental, vision, and medication to keep the workforce healthy and take responsibility for that coverage off of employers. 

“The other thing the NDP would do is shift the burden back onto the ultra wealthy and off small businesses and ordinary Canadians,” says Hay. “The ones who have benefited the most from the pandemic: get them to pay their share.” 

Hay also says the party would push to continue rent subsidies and business loan programs until the end of the pandemic, implement a hiring bonus that would pay employers a portion of Employment Insurance or the Canada Pension Plan for new or rehired staff, place a hard cap on credit card transaction fees for businesses.

“Canadian small businesses are paying among the highest credit card transaction fees in the world. It will help small businesses thrive – and that means stronger family businesses and stable, good jobs in communities across Canada.”

Photo supplied by: Parry Sound-Muskoka Green Party of Canada

Green Party candidate Marc Mantha says:

We need to get out of this health crisis. It’s been politicized with a federal election. Businesses can no longer navigate the inconsistent policies. In the meantime business and enterprise need assurances now and support to survive this. The suggestion of an HST tax break is fine, but they will need more. 

Shifting resources from programs that make the climate crisis worse to programs that save us from it will support all business, including independent businesses, entrepreneurs, recreation and the arts stifled for such a long time. And it’s budget neutral.”

Photo supplied by: peoplespartyofcanada.ca

People’s Party candidate James Tole says: 

“There would be no money thrown at problems, that’s not the party’s approach, no federal government grants that would help. Our policy is mainly about lowering corporate and business taxes so there’s more money in the pocket of the private sector so that they can actually create jobs in this riding and all across the country. It’s also about putting more money into the pockets of the individuals by lowering their taxes as well. 

So yes the pandemic has been hard on everybody and on businesses. As far as I’m concerned we’ve had unnecessary lock downs, and controversy on vaccinations. So I don’t see why there’s lockdowns and we’re required to wear masks. It’s been very hard on all of us but we have to put that behind us and go forward. 

I’m reading now that we might have to live with this virus being around, it’s like learning to live with the flu virus for instance. Every year those who wish to get the flu shots do that. Perhaps the same sort of thing could be available at a provincial level where people who want to can get some sort of yearly COVID-19 shot, that’s their business. 

But we have to get past the lockdowns, and have less government intervention in the economy. Encourage private business to create jobs and make a set of federal tax cuts, so that business can take that money and spend it on hiring more employees.”

National Citizens Alliance candidate James Fawcett says:

“As numbers start to drop and there looks like an end to this unfortunate time, as potential parliamentarians we need to recognize the sacrifice of businesses that were deemed non-essential, from closing down to taking on a massive debt load via loans. I would push for the end to payroll taxes and taxes on overtime for both employer and employee. Allow staff and business to re-coup losses, find ways to give basic health coverage, a better starting wage and finally teach our youth that right now they are the new boomer generation (18-24) and the future is also in their hands as we try to fix the current.”

(Supplied by Daniel Predie Jr.)

Independent Daniel Predie Jr. says: 

“I do not believe that this COVID pandemic will ever end until we deal with the corruption within Canada. It might be obvious that what those subverting our government have suggested is not working? We now even got media by the minute conditioning absolute fear into Canadians. This is being done while we have Canadian doctors who have raised concerns about the COVID jab, such as Dr. Francis Christian, who voiced his concerns about informed consent and COVID shots for children. Dr. Christian was then fired from the University of Saskatchewan. Dr. Christian is also pro-vaccination, while simply seeking informed consent for those deciding to take the jab. When we do clean up the corruption within Canada, we will have a lot of money to also help with any small businesses already established and or looking to set up. This cleaning up of the corruption within Canada will also entail the legal exploitation of our immigration while taking into account of the 1.5 million immigrants who arrived in Canada since 2004, the fiscal burden comes to $25 billion in 2010. Lots of money!” [sic.]

The federal election is September 20th.

**with files from Mo Fahim, Mathew Reisler, and Martin Halek