May 24, 2020
How was your Victoria Day weekend? I hope fine. As for me, I celebrated my daughter’s birthday by walking Pacific Spirit Park trails with her, and hugged my 3 and 5 year-old grandchildren for the first time since early March! This past week Prime Minister Trudeau released guidelines for reopening our economy. Although some are impatient, most Canadians recognize the process must be gradual, careful, and coordinated. Opening the US-Canada border opening has been postponed to late June – I heard and passed on the advice I received from several of you, on that front.
Over the coming months of gradual reopening more attention must be paid to testing, and rigorously tracking down the contacts of those infected with the coronavirus. According to Dr. Bonnie Henry, a second wave is inevitable - and that will help limit its intensity. The federal government has offered to help the provinces and territories scale up their testing and tracing efforts, with a plan to increase supplies like reagents and swabs, and federal personnel dedicated to help with tracing. Btw, I hope you saw my invitation to join me and Dr. Henry for a virtual discussion On Managing a Pandemic, a week Monday!
In other news about supporting Canadians, we announced $75 million for indigenous Canadians living off-reserve, who may need some extra help through this crisis. $3 Billion in federal funds has been offered to top up wages for low income essential workers, many of whom incur a daily risk of infection in service to others. Most correspondence I receive expresses support for our government’s strategy of investing generously in individuals and employers through the COVID-19 emergency, so Canadians can emerge from it sooner and stronger. Some worry about the long-term impact of the enormous deficit being created at this time. You may be reassured by Saturday’s Globe and Mail article Has the Pandemic made the Federal Government’s fiscal Situation Unsustainable, authored by respected experts such as Canada’s first Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page.
Speaking of service, earlier this week I announced another new digital application created by the Canadian Digital Service. Check out “Find Financial Help During Covid19” and see if you have missed applying for any benefits available to help you through this emergency.
Celebrating Asian Heritage Month virtually, I heard from a number of Vancouverites who have been volunteering and supporting others through the COVID-19 crisis. The hundred-plus participants included everyone from high school students supporting frontline workers, to a current contestant on Top Chef Canada!
Lastly, I want to let you know that nominations have opened for Hidden Heroes Awards 2020! I invite you to help us find and celebrate hidden heroes in our community who dedicate time and effort to helping others. Tell us who in your organization or neighbourhood has not yet received the public recognition you think they deserve for their outstanding volunteer contributions. You can nominate any person who is a constituent of Vancouver Quadra at my website: www.joycemurray.libparl.ca/HiddenHeroes2020. The deadline for submissions is midnight July 10th.
Although I and my staff are very busy supporting constituent needs from our home offices, my MP office remains physically closed. We are creating a re-opening plan that will protect you and staff health and safety, and we look forward to soon serving you in person once again.
The Hon. Joyce Murray, P.C., M.P.
Member of Parliament for Vancouver Quadra
Minister of Digital Government
P.S. Do you know someone who might like to receive my weekly updates? They can go to www.joycemurray.ca/email-updates to be added to my email list.