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MP Kyle Seeback on the Government’s COVID Response

As Dufferin moves into stage three of reopening after the COVID-caused shutdown, some are reflecting on the Canadian government’s response to coronavirus. To get an informed perspective, Josh MacEwen interviewed Kyle Seeback, Member of Parliament representing the riding of Dufferin-Caledon. The main topic discussed was Canada’s economic response to the coronavirus pandemic. Questions cover events that occurred before the economic shutdown, the emergency response to the pandemic itself, and the economic recovery currently taking place. We thank MP Kyle Seeback for the time and effort that went into answering all of our questions!

To begin, MP Kyle Seeback is asked to share his thoughts on the perceived delays to the COVID-shutdown at the federal level. This question is a result of Canada being hit later than many other countries and therefore had more time to prepare for the pandemic. It is the opinion of some that Canada wasted its opportunity to get ahead of the crisis.

MP Kyle Seeback addresses the lack of support for small businesses in the Liberals’ original response to the COVID pandemic. Josh highlights how the plan was to expand unemployment benefits, which would have left many small business owners to fend for themselves. The lack of support resulted in many members of our community feeling abandoned, especially when combined with the social shaming being practiced by those who were able to stay home. MP Seeback agrees that going with CERB, instead of the Liberals’ original proposal of expanded unemployment insurance, helped save a lot of people and businesses.

After this, Member of Parliament Kyle Seeback is asked to comment on the Liberals’ attempt to tie CERB to the granting of broad spending and taxing powers to the cabinet without parliamentary oversight.

Then, MP Kyle Seeback is asked for his views on the Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy. He shares how the Conservatives would have prioritized the wage subsidy over the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit, as this would have resulted in more people staying employed, even if people were paid to stay home. Josh states how this model has been shown to work, as proven when one compares Canada’s unemployment rate to that of many European countries. MP Seeback describes how the deprioritization of the wage subsidy has played out for Canada, and the difficulties that employers are now experiencing when trying to get people back to work. He also raises concerns as to what will happen once this wage subsidy is removed.

Many Canadians are under the impression that the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance program has been a success. MP Kyle Seeback states that the initiative has been a failure, and he is doubtful that it will ever be fixed. In its current state, tenants only receive support if their landlords apply for CECRA. Seeback describes how landlords that would like to participate have found the requirements too complicated and burdensome, especially when it results in rental revenue being reduced by 25%.

Extending financial support to students has been one of the most contested subjects when it comes to the federal government’s response to COVID. Dufferin-Caledon MP Kyle Seeback is asked whether he considers the Canadian Emergency Student Benefit to be a valid program and if Liberals’ should have separated it from the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit. Over the six-month period, CERB would net a student $4500 which is just $500 less than what the Canadian Student Service Grant would have provided to participating students volunteering at the highest level. When one takes into account what has come to light as a result of the government mismanaging the CSSG, many are left feeling that students are less of a priority when it comes to the Liberal Party. MP Seeback shares his thoughts on the WE scandal and how reminiscent it is of the Sponsorship program.

Canada’s COVID Alert application has been rolled out. MP Kyle Seeback shares how he is supportive of this voluntary measure and that he has already installed the application. Josh states that he has installed the application too and that it seems to be designed with privacy in mind. After this, MP Seeback is asked for his thoughts on the new AI-enabled cameras that were installed in Orangeville. He was unaware of this, but after learning their purpose, he expresses his opinion on the technology.

Many people are expressing fears that a second wave of COVID may be coming, and that we are unprepared for it. Some have even said that we are opening back up too quickly. Member of Parliament for Dufferin Caledon Kyle Seeback states his views on these issues, in addition to school reopenings in September.

To finish up our interview with MP Kyle Seeback, he is asked what he considers to be the biggest flaw with the Canadian Government’s response to the pandemic. The answer may surprise some. He highlights a certain population in our community that hasn’t received enough support, and the issue isn’t receiving much attention. To sign off, MP Seeback expresses how proud he is of the level of community support that the Dufferin-Caledon riding has demonstrated over the past few months. He shares how inspiring it is to see people who are struggling still going out of their way to help others.

Kyle Seeback, Member of Parliament for Dufferin-Caledon
Phone Number: 1-519-941-1832
E-mail: Kyle.Seeback@parl.gc.ca

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