Kenora MP continuing to fight for tourist operators, small businesses in NWO
Tim Brody - Editor
Kenora MP Eric Melillo is continuing to fight for tourist operators and small businesses in Northwestern Ontario impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
On June 11, the provincial government moved into Step 1 of its Roadmap to Reopening.
In his June 16 column Melillo stated, “As the economy re-opens, we need to provide supports to help hard-hit sectors recover. Unfortunately, the Liberals have done nothing to help small business owners and tourism operators who have lost the better part of two summer seasons.”
In this week’s column he shared, “As the province re-opens and vaccines are rolled out, Canadians are starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel. But many are still struggling. Last week, I spoke in the House of Commons about the struggles faced by small businesses in the Kenora riding. After losing a full season last year, tourism operators and other business owners are facing another COVID summer.
“The Liberal government has mismanaged this public health crisis, failed to secure our economy, and ignored the unique needs of northwestern Ontario.”
“That’s the bottom line,” Melillo said. “Our tourism industry, but really all of our small businesses I think that get that seasonal boom in the summer, they struggled last year and many are going to struggle again. I’ve heard from a lot of people that they’re not sure if they can manage with restrictions if they continue for another summer. I’m happy that we have been taking steps to reopen, that we have the reopening framework now; I think there is some light at the end of the tunnel. That’s why a big focus for me has been on supporting our businesses, our tourism and small businesses, but also all the industries across Northern Ontario including mining and forestry and ensuring we’re doing everything we can to support our economy, so that we can have an economic recovery once COVID-19 is behind us.”
He Tweeted on June 10 with regards to an agreement for cross-border travel being inked for NHL teams competing in the Stanley Cup playoffs, “The government has worked to make an exception for NHL players because they’re in the “national interest.” Why aren’t businesses and tourism operators in Northwestern Ontario in the national interest?”
“If NHL players are in the national interest, and don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against the NHL, but if they’re in the national interest, I fail how to see how the small businesses and tourist operators across Northern Ontario, that are the lifeblood of our economy, how is that not possibly in the national interest? I think it just shows a bit of misguided priorities from government. They’ve had a long time to try and think of some solutions and try to develop a safe plan for reopening, and reopening the border as well, but they’ve really neglected to do that,” he concluded.
Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Bill Blair Tweeted on June 18, “Our number one priority as we fight #COVID19 is keeping Canadians safe. In coordination with the U.S., we are extending restrictions on non-essential international travel and with the United States until July 21st, 2021.”