We are now into the third week of the spring sitting of the Legislature and as you are well aware, things are still far from being normal.
While we can see the light at the end of the tunnel as the vaccination program begins to roll out, there are still far too many people falling between the cracks in terms of the financial damage.
Thousands of British Columbians have still not received their BC Recovery Benefit.
Small business owners are seeing even less assistance from the provincial government.
A survey carried out by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business reveals over 55 per cent of B.C. businesses owners are in need of additional supports.
Despite a promise to provide small and medium sized businesses with $300 million worth of support, we had since discovered that after nearly a year, Premier John Horgan and the NDP have only dispersed a very small fraction of those funds, and somehow managed to spend $31 million just in administrative costs alone.
These benefits should not be up for debate.
At the beginning of the pandemic, Opposition parties sat down with Premier Horgan and we all agreed that business desperately needs a boost through the Small and Medium Sized Recovery Grant.
I pushed this issue hard because I believe that this is likely the first time in history that all parties have agreed to such a significant funding strategy for economic relief.
After weeks of pressure, Horgan has finally backed down and agreed to extend the program to the end of August, and after much more debate, has agreed to less the criteria for eligibility.
This will be critical to so many in our riding. Rest assured I will continue to advocate for individuals and businesses that need it the most.
Lorne Doerkson is the Liberal MLA for the Cariboo-Chilcotin.