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NDP leader Jagmeet Singh talks COVID with South Okanagan small business owners

Click to play video: 'NDP leader talks COVID with Penticton business owners' NDP leader talks COVID with Penticton business owners
NDP leader talks COVID with Penticton business owners – Jul 30, 2021

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh and local MP Richard Cannings were in the South Okanagan on Friday, meeting with small businesses in Penticton.

They listened to small business owners on how they felt about the support received from the federal government during the pandemic.

Read more: B.C. records 243 new cases of COVID-19 in only 24 hours, with more than half in Interior

Singh said he believes the government did not do enough until the NDP party started pushing for better support.

“If it was the Liberal government on their own, I would give them a failing grade,” said Singh.

“But, we were able to fight to improve support for small businesses and that made a big difference. The Liberals started off with a 10 per cent wage subsidy, which was not enough to keep people employed. We spoke to small businesses and they said it will not be enough, we fought hard to increase it to 75 per cent. Bringing together some unlikely allies, demanding it has to be at least 75 per cent or higher and it worked — saving millions of jobs.”

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Read more: B.C. has ‘no plans’ to scrap contact tracing, isolation of COVID-19 cases: health minister

Global News talked to some small businesses asking them how they feel about the support they’ve received in the past year and a half.

“I think with the help of the federal government, alongside with my amazing landlord, and suppliers and my customers, we are here today because of that,” said Angela Morrow, Mi Amour Clothing Boutique’s owner.

“The wage subsidy helped us for about a month and a half, the CERB alone has been very beneficial, the rent subsidy was a block of three months at a time, we didn’t meet the criteria so that didn’t work but the others have been very helpful,” said Andrew Jakubeit, The Grooveyard’s owner.

“I definitely feel like the federal government has done a good job, at least supporting our small businesses,” said Jesse Doucette, from Sirius Science and Nature.

Read more: B.C. officials announce Central Okanagan restrictions following COVID-19 surge in Interior Health

Singh said if the NDP wins the next election, he will bring more support for small businesses to the table by taxing large box-store companies to help pay for those supports.

“A lot of companies have offshore tax havens, they make profits off Canadians, off people here, but they hide those profits, that should not be allowed,” Singh told Global News on Friday.

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Web giants, like Amazon, make record-breaking profits off Canadians and pay virtually no tax here, that’s got to stop as well.“

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