By Justin Seward
Local MP Glen Motz says 2020 will be remembered around the globe as a very difficult year.
He referred the “difficult year” to being hard on workers, businesses and seniors due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“It was a challenge,” said Motz.
“It was a real challenge for Albertans specifically. I think it was another difficult blow to our economy and hopes that we had. As we know the Liberal policies (have) decimated the energy industry in western Canada prior to the pandemic, they spent us poor prior to the pandemic and they decimated our job creators-we already had large unemployment numbers. We were in a tough position before the pandemic even hit. It just added to make things worse.”
As an MP travelling to Ottawa, it was a different experience for Motz during 2020.
“I would normally go back and forth on a weekly basis when the House was sitting and travelled there, and met with people here on weekends,” said Motz.
“The pandemic forced significant adjustments to everyone’s scheduling- including the House of Commons. We were shut down for a time. We met sporadically-I was only down there maybe five or six times from March until June.”
Motz says it was frustrating to have limited ability in the House to deal with issues that were facing Canadians.
“As the opposition we did some really great things when it comes to the pandemic,” he said.
“We focused on helping Canadians throughout the pandemic and that was our goal. I think millions of Canadians have been left behind by Trudeau and his Liberal incompetents during the pandemic. And under the leadership of my colleagues and Erin O’Toole, we want to bring back certainty, clarity and competence for Canadians.”
The Conservatives passed a number of motions in the House including the studying of the federal government’s pandemic response, calling for the end of the audits of businesses during COVID-19, calling for a COVID-19 vaccine rollout and when Canadians can expect a vaccine. The opposition has fought for workers in all industries that are seeing COVID-19 impacts.
Motz added on the fighting for workers in all industries topic that it was “Not just the ones that Trudeau and his Liberals like.”
The Conservatives also battle for and secured changes for the Rent Relief program to assist more Canadian businesses.
Changes were also made to the Wage Subsidy program thanks to the opposition’s efforts.
“The Liberals proposed 10 per cent. We proposed higher and got to 75 per cent and are pushing to help more Canadians keep their jobs during the pandemic,” said Motz.
As result of the Conservatives efforts, changes were made to the Canada Employment Business Accounts to aid more small businesses in staying open.
“That was problematic and we made changes to it,” he said.
Advocating was done to see an increase for the Canadian Child Benefits and help families that have been hit hard by the pandemic, a change the Liberals finally came in agreement with after their fall economic statements.
Additional funding was secured for the Auditor General to ensure the Liberals were held accountable for their actions during COVID-19.
Other short term issues that came included the Liberal government agreeing with the Conservatives on the removal of the GST/HST from personal protective equipment.
Motz feels at this stage in the pandemic there is “conflicting and limited information about how many people have actually had COVID-19 and what our national level of immunity is.”
“I think Canadians deserve to see the data used to make public policy decisions during this pandemic.”
The Conservative MP is satisfiedwith what the opposition has been able to do in 2020.
“We were still very effective as an opposition,” said Motz.
“It was the experience there- rather than have your full complement-there’s only maybe 20 of your guys there at a time. We divided up our Conservative colleagues into cohorts. We would go down in cohorts so that we would honour the rules the House put in place as far as how many could be there at a time. Everybody did a bit more of everything when you were down there to help out with whatever was being discussed.”
Motz believes the pandemic will provide opportunity for business owners.
“I’ve talked to business owners in our city and around the riding, and my colleagues have done the same thing that it was opportunity to look at their business and to become maybe more efficient (and) to appreciate their customers more differently,” he said.
“And for customers to appreciate the value of the businesses and the shopping local and how much value community has and how we support each other in that. (The year) 2020 was to recognize how communities came together to help each other during difficult times.”
The year 2020 could look back at how dependent the federal government is on other countries, who Motz said are “basically intent on doing us harm, to take advantage of our generosity (and) to take advantage of our trades.”
The opportunity could be there to re-examine Canadian Manufacturing and why can’t they compete, he added.
A list of priorities Motz would like to see in 2021 include: the communities getting back to normal, making sure there are not more people being lost, the restore of the economy with a real plan and normal timelines and assist those people who are unemployed.
Another hope is that other parties see that there needs to be a change of government in Canada.
“That’ll have the most immediate, dramatic and positive impact on all Canadians,” he said.
Other ongoing issues will be to look at restoring jobs in the energy sector and looking at infrastructure and the needs in communities among many others.
“I’m going into 2021 cautiously optimistic that we will be able to get the impact of the pandemic behind (us) and then we will work to restore stability in our economy,” he said.