June 6, 2020
June 1 saw a first for my MP office: a virtual MP Brunch Connections with Dr. Bonnie Henry, BC’s Chief Medical Health Officer. Thank you, if you were among the nearly 400 attendees – it was a more reasonable time of day than our regular MP Breakfasts, but you had to make your own brunch! We heard from Dr. Henry how the lessons she learned from her work during the 2003 SARS epidemic, H1N1 virus in 2009, and Ebola crisis in Africa informed her readiness and approach to COVID-19. It was also an honour to start off with a land acknowledgement by former Musqueam Chief Gail Sparrow, who also presented a power blanket dedicated to Dr. Henry for her work during COVID-19. For those unable to attend, you can see a video of the event on my Facebook page. And do keep an eye out for information on our next MP Brunch.
Appreciating Dr. Bonnie Henry's story, while learning how to convene a large and interactive virtual gathering.
If you are an employer or business owner, I want to draw to your attention the new Canadian Business Resilience Network. This is a one stop shop for finding a huge range of COVID-19 resources and tools, including personal assistance from financial professionals. It gave me great pleasure to help get this important initiative off the ground with my cabinet colleagues. Also, in case you didn’t see it, applications for the Canadian Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) program opened last week, reducing rent by up to 75% for small businesses. See the CMHC site for more details and applications.
From my conversations with Mayor Kennedy I’m very aware of Vancouver’s pandemic-related financial challenges. Numerous revenue sources have dried up while services, like transit for example, are still necessary. Earlier this week Prime Minister Trudeau announced our government will deliver $2.2 billion directly to municipalities this month, fast-tracking funds promised for next year. In addition, $14 billion will be provided to the provinces and territories for citizens’ immediate needs tied to re-starting the economy safely.
I end this email by acknowledging the unacceptable reality of violence against black people and other visible minorities. The awful death of George Floyd and subsequent events this past week have shocked us all. Please take a look at this message from my friend and Parliamentary Secretary, MP Greg Fergus, on the events of this week.
As the Prime Minister echoed on Monday, we can’t pretend racism doesn’t exist here in Canada. Anti-black racism is real, unconscious bias is real, and systemic discrimination is real. Our government has implemented many measures to combat discrimination, including appointing a Minister of Diversity and Inclusion and Youth, but that’s not enough. Now we need to take a hard look at our existing systems that foster injustice, and do the necessary work to fix them and make Canada a better country for everyone. Each of us can personally find our own way to become more aware, and to show our support. Black Lives Matter!
The Hon. Joyce Murray, P.C., M.P.
Member of Parliament for Vancouver Quadra
Minister of Digital Government
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