The official opposition is encouraging the provincial government to come forward as soon as possible to help small businesses and the self-employed who have been hit hard by the COVID-19 crisis.
“Obviously the health and safety of New Brunswickers is the top priority at this difficult time. We have great faith in Dr. Jennifer Russell and the work that her team is doing on the public health side,” said Andrew Harvey the Liberal critic for economic development.
“We appreciate that the Premier has indicated that the province is looking at what gaps need to be addressed before announcing its support programs for businesses and individuals,” he added.
“Our caucus has been hearing from many small business owners and the self-employed who are worried that they may not qualify for some of the federal programs that have been announced and they are hopeful the province will step in.”
Harvey pointed out that other provinces, such as PEI have already rolled out programs for the self-employed and small businesses to provide financial assistance at this difficult time. “This seems to be a reasonable approach, and perhaps the province could consider offering programs of a similar nature to support the self-employed and small businesses in New Brunswick.”
Liberal Finance Critic Roger Melanson said the situation is urgent for those who have already have to shut their businesses down because of the state of emergency.
“It’s an issue of cash flow. They don’t have any money coming in they are obviously worried about feeding their families and paying their basic expenses. They are worried about what’s going to happen in the next few months.”
Melanson said it’s important that governments at all levels, federal and provincial, step up to help the private sector in these extraordinary times.
“We’ve never been in a situation like this before. These are difficult times for everyone, including government. But we have some examples before us already of what other provinces are doing. I think people would like to hear from the province very soon on what help is coming for small businesses and the self-employed.”