Opposition Finance and Treasury Board critic, MLA Rob McKee questions Blaine Higgs’s recent comments regarding Monday’s federal budget given the Province’s weak response to the impacts of COVID-19 on New Brunswickers and the economy.
“Calling for an end to federal COVID-19 relief programs while the pandemic rages on and continues to affect our Province just shows how out of touch the Premier is,” said McKee. “He has no economic recovery plan and now he is advocating the end of the only real source of funding for New Brunswickers who are struggling to pay their rent and for businesses that are hanging on by a thread. All in the name of the balance sheet.”
The only meaningful support to workers and businesses in New Brunswick has come from the federal government — 99% of the financial assistance provided to New Brunswickers has come from federal coffers. Without this assistance, one in four businesses is at risk of closing for good in New Brunswick.
McKee also notes that the limited provincial help made available remains untapped and that the tourism, arts and culture sectors, while hardest hit by the pandemic, continue to look for support.
“As for provincial assistance to New Brunswick businesses, we’ve learned the small business grant was too restrictive and 75% of these funds are unallocated,” added McKee. “It’s no wonder that the tourism industry is making a plea to the federal government for financial support. The Minister of Tourism, Heritage and Culture has failed to develop and implement a plan to help the hardest hit sectors of our economy. She couldn’t find support within her own government.”