March 25th, 2020
New benefit will reach more individuals in need
Ottawa – After presiding over the debate for the extra-ordinary session of parliament that delivered the first federal aid package in the COVID-19 pandemic, Algoma-Manitoulin-Kapuskasing MP, Carol Hughes is pleased that parliament has been able to band together as opposed to descending into partisan quibbling.
“I think we should be proud of our country where divisions aren’t necessarily as deep as the ties that bind us,” said Hughes. “I know this legislation needed adjustments and the parties were able to work to find common ground.”
Hughes is especially pleased that the NDP proposal to get Canadians who aren’t eligible for Employment Insurance $2000 a month was largely adopted by the government.
“This is something we had identified as a best practice that will get money to more households in the quickest fashion,” said Hughes. “It isn’t perfect, but it’s a good start and it will help a lot of people who wouldn’t get support from Employment Insurance.”
Hughes was called to Ottawa after the special sitting hit a road-block and it became apparent that she was needed to help assist in her capacity as Assistant Deputy Speaker.
“I was the next one up and jumped in the car in the late afternoon,” said Hughes. “It was supposed to be a straight-forward affair, but the legislation initially over-reached in giving powers to the government, so it isn’t surprising there were hiccups.”
Hughes says the monthly Canada Emergency Response Benefit will help local economies as Canadians practice physical distancing to slow the spread of the virus.
“It is really important that we extend supports to parts of the economy that Employment Insurance won’t reach, like the self-employed and small businesses,” said Hughes. “We need to identify as many gaps as possible and address those quickly.”