Send your letter to the editor via email to news@langleyadvancetimes.com and include your first and last name, address, and phone number.

Send your letter to the editor via email to news@langleyadvancetimes.com and include your first and last name, address, and phone number.

LETTER: Maple Ridge’s MLA isn’t working for struggling community, letter writer argues

Government offers little help to businesses forced to close in latest round of restrictions

Dear Editor,

For the people whose businesses the government ordered to be closed and the people who surgeries were canceled by the government, the cover wrap of your Friday, Dec. 17, 2021, edition showing Premier Horgan and our MLA Bob D’Eith under the caption “Working For You” was ironic to say the least, more like a slap in the face.

B.C. is in a double state of emergency for the natural disasters of COVID and flooding. On Dec. 22 the government caused further devastation by ordering the closure of number of targeted businesses and announcing the impending cancelling of surgeries.

This seriously impacted people throughout the province including people in our community causing business owners to immediately lose their income, go deeper in debt and move closer to bankruptcy.

When I phoned the office of our MLA Bob D’Eith on the day that the closures were announced to find out what financial assistance the government was offering to the businesses that were ordered to be closed, the message on his answering machine stated that his office was not open from Dec. 20 to Jan. 3. So where was our MLA during this time of crisis? Definitely not “Working for You”!

I made phone calls to the B.C. government and was told there was no financial help at this time being offered to businesses that were ordered to be closed yet the B.C. government knows ahead of time which businesses is it will be closing.

A couple of days after announcing the business closures, the B.C. government announced a financial relief package. To put this in perspective, the B.C. government pays an MLA in excess of $145,000 per year, that’s more than $12,000 every month, to cover the cost of operating a small constituency office. (members.leg.bc.ca)

Compare this to the financial assistance the B.C. government is offering to the owners of a businesses it has ordered to be closed: If the business has no employees, they can apply for a onetime payment of $1,000, businesses with one to four employees $2,000, five to 99 employees $5,000, 100 or more employees $10,000.

Such small amounts will not keep these businesses afloat. They are already suffering severely from previous government closure orders and being required to operate at reduced capacity.

By causing businesses to fail, our government is eroding the tax base not to mention destroying individuals lives. This is a not a natural disaster; it’s a government induced disaster.

The health risks from COVID are not has severe today as at the beginning of the pandemic. The risk of death is greatly reduced in a vaccinated population. The B.C. government tells us the reason for the current restrictions is to prevent COVID cases overwhelming the hospitals.

The government “Who is Working for You” has had two years to find a solution to the problem of COVID overwhelming the hospitals.

Why hasn’t the government built COVID treatment centers in each health region to take pressure off the hospitals or found other solutions? Don’t tell me it can’t be done.

Where there is a will there is a way. The B.C. government found ample funds and figured out a way to repair the Coquihalla Highway in just over one month.

Here is a quote from Dr. Kieran Moore, Ontario’s chief medical officer taken from comments she made about Omicron on Tuesday, Dec. 21, 2021 “I’m not seeing a significant severity signal today in terms of the ICU use or hospitalization in England or other jurisdictions.” (Vancouver Sun Friday, December 24, 2021).

Omicron hit Ontario ahead of B.C. yet the hospitals in Ontario are not being overwhelmed by COVID. Look at the Ontario government website: Covid-19.ontario.ca and check the statistics for Dec. 23, 2021. Of 39,980 active COVID cases, only 508 are hospitalized. Total number of ICU beds is 2,343. Only 162 beds are occupied by COVID patients.

It seems that the B.C. government does not have good reason to be ordering business closures and cancelling surgeries. When it comes to targeted small businesses and for the people whose surgeries are being cancelled the B.C. government’s actions are better described as “Working Against You” not “Working for You”.

Heather McCain, Maple Ridge

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• READ MORE: Health care workers brace for holiday spike

• READ MORE: Record number of cases but hospitalizations stable

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BusinessCoronavirusLetter to the EditorProvincial Government