North Island-Powell River MP, Rachel Blaney, is happy to see the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) being extended for two more months.

The NDP MP says it’s a lifeline for Canadians struggling through the pandemic.

“This is an eight-week extension to support people through this period of time who don’t have jobs to go back to, or have challenges to be able to go back to that work,” Blaney said. “I think of people who are living with folks with serious health concerns who cannot expose themselves, but still need to put food on the table, and pay their mortgage and their rent.”

On July 8th, the federal government will be providing an economic update. Blaney said due to COVID-19, MPs haven’t done “the normal things like passing a budget and all those sorts of realities that we usually have.”

“What we’re hoping to see is that (this) financial update will give us more information about what’s going on, and what we need to do,” Blaney said. “The reality for me is we need that update, we need that accountability, but we also need to be mindful of everyday Canadians who have needed this support during this time to keep the basics in their household, a roof over their heads, and food on their table. These have been very trying times and very different times.”

She said the federal NDP wants the government to focus on corporate tax avoidance, to ensure that the rich pay their fair share.

“Some countries have actually said, ‘If you are hiding money overseas, and you are doing things that are avoiding the ability to pay taxes as you should in our country, we will not let you access the resources.’”

She pointed to the federal program that allows for 75 per cent of wages to be covered by the government during the pandemic.

“What we’ve asked the federal government is, let’s follow those other countries’ leadership, and if people have businesses, corporations have money overseas that they are not having to pay taxes on, they are not paying their fair share like most Canadians are, let’s not let those folks access those programs,” Blaney said.

Moving forward, Blaney said it’s important to create a strategy moving forward and look at how we’re going to rebuild after this time, “but we also have to acknowledge that the federal government is still not putting together anything that deals with corporate tax avoidance. So let’s pick on the people who make the majority of the money in this country, and support those who need it.”