July 17th, 2020

Local Conservative MPP rejects financial help for struggling small businesses

Piccini dismisses NDP Save Main Street plan as ‘handout’

PETERBOROUGH — As Peterborough enters Stage 3 of re-opening Friday, local Conservative MPP David Piccini is rejecting a plan that would provide direct financial support to small businesses struggling to recover after months of being shut down.

That plan is the Ontario NDP’s Save Main Street proposal, which calls for commercial rent subsidies and funding to support safe re-opening measures, like installing Plexiglas barriers. Discussing the NDP’s Save Main Street plan during Question Period Tuesday, Piccini said, “The members opposite have no plan for restaurants. They would rather give them handouts than give them a leg up. But that’s not what the hard-working businesses of Northumberland–Peterborough South want.”

“Businesses have been looking for a true partner to help them survive the pandemic, which is why it was shocking to hear the Conservative MPP for Northumberland-Peterborough South dismiss direct financial support for small businesses as a ‘handout,’” said Catherine Fife, Ontario NDP critic for Economic Growth and Job Creation. “Small businesses have been struggling to stay afloat during the pandemic — including in Northumberland-Peterborough South — and they need more help than they’re getting from the Ford government.

“Some small business owners have fallen several months behind on rent, while others have taken on crushing amounts of debt. Instead of rolling up their sleeves to help, the Ford government and the local Conservative MPP are patting themselves on the back for providing some extra patio space and telling themselves job well done as businesses close up shop.”

The NDP has never stopped pushing for direct financial support for small businesses. Its Save Main Street proposal includes:

  • A 75 per cent commercial rent subsidy up to $10,000 a month for three months for businesses that continue to struggle with decreased revenue as a result of COVID-19
  • A utility payment freeze
  • A remote-work, physical-distancing and safe re-opening set up fund, to help with computers for staff to work at home, and upgrades to make workplaces safe for staff and the public — like plexiglass barriers and PPE
  • An auto insurance grace period for taxis and car-sharing drivers, established in partnership with the insurance industry and the Financial Services Regulatory Authority
  • A designated emergency fund for small businesses and entrepreneurs who have faced historic barriers to accessing traditional capital, as proposed by the Canadian Black Chamber of Commerce.

“Small business owners in Northumberland-Peterborough South are critical to Ontario’s economic recovery, and they need our help to get back on their feet,” said Fife. “The Conservative MPP for Northumberland-Peterborough South may be willing to write off local small businesses, but the NDP is going to keep fighting to get them direct financial support.”