Rachel Blaney was one of three NDP members of 32 total MPs sitting in the House of Commons in Ottawa Tuesday.

North Island-Powell River MP, colleagues pass emergency COVID-19 aid legislation

North Island–Powell River MP Rachel Blaney was one of three NDP members of 32 MPs sitting in the House of Commons in Ottawa Tuesday. These MPs came together after Parliament was suspended March 13 to pass emergency legislation to help Canadians weather the COVID-19 crisis.

Measures announced last week by Prime Minister had received support from all parties, including a letter from NDP leader Jagmeet Singh. However, when the draft legislation was sent to MPs late Sunday, additional measures were included that had not been previously discussed.

“We were really taken by surprise by some of these new measures,” Blaney said in a news release. “They gave the ministers of finance and health extreme spending and taxation powers for nearly two years without any parliamentary oversight.”

Negotiations on the bill began in earnest Monday morning, and continued well past the original debate start time slated for noon Tuesday. Blaney was one of the lead opposition negotiators on this bill.

“We had every intention of supporting the emergency measures the prime minister had announced earlier. But we couldn’t allow the bill to go through as presented. We have a job to do as parliamentarians and a big part of that is keeping the government accountable to Canadians.”

Negotiations came to a close at 2:30 a.m. Wednesday.

“We made sure that Canadians would get the support they need, even though that meant intense negotiations and little sleep. These are unprecedented times, and those call for unprecedented measures from the government. I understood that from the beginning. But there needed to be a balance with accountability, and I think we managed to strike that balance.”

In the end, the legislation was passed and has since been approved by the Senate. Blaney is pleased that the simplified and strengthened Canada Emergency Response Benefit will be made available to Canadians very soon. Where the NDP and Liberals couldn’t agree on removing entire clauses, durations were shortened, and additional oversight measures were added to hold the government accountable without stalling the legislation any further.

“The past few weeks have been a whirlwind for everyone in Ottawa and around the world,” Blaney said. “I’m very glad I got to do this important work on behalf of my constituents and all Canadians, but now I’m ready to come home.”

Because Blaney will be travelling by plane to get home, she will be voluntarily self-isolating for two weeks upon her return. She and her staff will continue to be available by phone and email to support constituents and businesses, and to answer questions about the new legislation and programs.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Valley’s Father Charles Brandt to receive national lifetime achievement award

Father Charles was instrumental in creating the Oyster River Enhancement Society

Comox Valley Ringette Association requests equal ice time

The Comox Valley Ringette Association has appealed to the regional district for… Continue reading

Vancouver Island under a thunderstorm watch tonight

Environment Canada forecasts downpour and possible thunder and lightning

Vancouver Island NDP MP responds to Liberal’s throne speech

’Feds say nice things but when it comes to taking action it’s a different story’ says North Island- Powell River MP, Rachel Blaney

Suspicious van report leads police to issue important reminders

Police received a report about a suspicious white van driving slowly around Comox.

B.C. reports 91 new cases as officials remain worried over ‘clusters of COVID-19

There have now been a total of 8,395 cases in B.C. since the pandemic began

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Canada’s active COVID-19 cases top 10,000 as daily new cases triple over the past month

Dr. Tam repeated her warning to young people, who have made up the majority of recent cases

First 8 months of fatal overdoses in B.C. have now exceeded 2019 death toll

Nine people died every two days in August, BC Coroners Service data shows

Liberal effort to reset policy agenda panned by rivals as too much talk, not action

Trudeau said it’s ‘all too likely’ families won’t be able to gather for Thanksgiving next month

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

‘Show us the money’ for cannabis, local governments tell B.C.

Municipal tax, transit revenues falling as costs rise

Courtenay doctor completes virtual Boston Marathon

Janet Green has run another Boston Marathon — a virtual one —… Continue reading

Cops for Cancer: COVID-19 can’t stop Tour de Rock

‘having the chance to come back and ride this year means everything to me’

Most Read