Laurel Collins (Courtesy of Laurel Collins)

Laurel Collins (Courtesy of Laurel Collins)

MP REPORT: Challenging year coming to a close

Victoria MP reflects on fight to provide relief from stresses of COVID-19

Laurel Collins

Member of Parliament for Victoria

This time of year is often a time to reflect on the past 12 months, and to look forward at what we want for the year to come. 2020 has been difficult, and the holidays are extra challenging this year. For some, this is because we cannot travel to see our loved ones, or because of the financial stresses of COVID-19, or because isolation has taken a toll on mental health and well-being. Now, more than ever, it is important for us to follow public health recommendations, to connect with the people in our lives in safe ways, and to work together to bend the curve.

Since COVID-19 hit, my office has received a flood of calls and emails. My team and I have been working tirelessly, advocating for people who have lost their jobs, who are worried about their businesses going under, or who are trying to keep a roof over their heads. We have also heard many stories about how our community has come together to care for one another. I have so much appreciation for all the frontline workers, nurses, grocery clerks, and everyday people who are working hard to provide needed services while keeping our community safe.

As a first-term MP, this year has been unlike anything I could have expected. It has been both challenging and it has given me the opportunity to support and fight for people in our community during these extraordinarily difficult times.

Over this past year, I am proud to have worked alongside my New Democrat colleagues to significantly improve federal COVID responses. Our willingness to negotiate, along with our refusal to support deeply flawed programs, resulted in meaningful improvements and made a difference for Canadians. Just a few examples include that we successfully pushed for the $2,000 CERB, we increased the wage subsidy from 10 per cent to 75 per cent, and we got a historic win by securing paid sick leave. We are continuing to fight to help the people who have fallen through the cracks, including many seniors, people with disabilities, recent graduates, and small businesses who did not qualify for supports.

ALSO READ: Victoria seeks to replace many roles held by former Coun. Laurel Collins

As we look forward into 2021, with the initial arrival of vaccines, we can see a light at the end of the tunnel. And, while it may be many months away, we can start to imagine an end to the pandemic and start planning for the recovery.

The recovery needs to include taking profit out of long-term care and implementing national care standards, but also head-to-toe universal health care, including pharmacare, dental care, and mental health care. We need to address economic inequality with a wealth tax on the super-rich, a national childcare program, and a guaranteed livable income. And, we cannot forget that we are also facing the opioid crisis, the housing crisis, and the climate emergency. As the NDP critic for environment and climate change, I have been pushing for bold climate action and accountability, for green jobs in the low-carbon economy, and for a just and sustainable recovery.

It is an honour to be your member of Parliament in Victoria, and I want to thank everyone in our region for your ongoing commitment to keeping our community safe.

Laurel Collins is the member of Parliament for Victoria.

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

Just Posted

Oak Bay High Grade 10 students Oliver Wakely and Alex Joiner with the new scoreboard to soon be installed on the grass turf. Fundraising from the Oak Bay Barbarians rugby alumni and Oak Bay Fire Fighters Charitable Foundation. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)
Oak Bay High alumni buy new scoreboard

Scoreboard to be installed on grass field

Steve Smith’s image of two sibling adolescent grizzly bears playfighting in the Chilko River in the B.C. Interior earned him best of show at the prestigious Lion’s Gate Celebration of Nature club competition for 2020-21. (Photo by Steve Smith)
Victoria Camera Club captures top spot in prestigious nature and wildlife competition

Saanich Peninsula photographers part of award-winning team

Downtown Victoria and the Inner Harbour are part of a corridor that also includes much of urban Saanich that is part of the Greater Victoria 2030 District, a sustainable buildings climate initiative announced recently. (Black Press Media file photo)
Ramping up energy efficiency in Greater Victoria buildings goal of new group

Greater Victoria 2030 District part of North American network of cities working to reduce emissions

Victoria Hospice staff Brianne Ohl, left, Angela Chalmers, right, and Sandi Ogloff, at back, show off their buttons that show a picture of them smiling. Staff has worked hard to maintain the connections with patients despite the barriers of PPE and rigid COVID-19 protocols. (Victoria Hospice Photo)
Hospice provides compassion in a time of COVID

Victoria Hospice 40th anniversary on pause during pandemic

Look for the Random Act of Kindness Day colouring contest in Black Press issues Jan. 17. Physical entries can be mailed or dropped off to local Black Press offices. A scanned or photographed entry can be emailed to info@victoriafoundation.bc.ca. Winning entries can get a $50 gift card to Bolen Books and a $100 donation to a charity of their choice from the VIctoria Foundation. (Pixabay)
Colouring contest coming for Kindness Day

Kindness Day colouring contest in partnership with Victoria Foundation

Terrance Josephson of the Princeton Posse, at left, and Tyson Conroy of the Summerland Steam clash during a Junior B hockey game at the Summerland Arena in the early spring of 2020. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Test your knowledge of Canada’s national winter sport

Nanaimo Regional General Hospital. (News Bulletin file photo)
COVID-19 outbreak declared at Nanaimo hospital

Two staff members and one patient have tested positive, all on the same floor

A long-term care worker receives the Pfizer vaccine at a clinic in Nanaimo earlier this month. (Island Health photo)
All Island seniors in long-term care will be vaccinated by the end of this weekend

Immunization of high-risk population will continue over the next two months

A 75-year-old aircraft has been languishing in a parking lot on the campus of the University of the Fraser Valley, but will soon be moved to the B.C. Aviation Museum. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Vintage military aircraft moving from Chilliwack to new home at B.C. Aviation Museum

The challenging move to Vancouver Island will be documented by Discovery Channel film crews

A video posted to social media by Chilliwack resident Rob Iezzi shows a teenager getting kicked in the face after being approached by three suspects on Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. (YouTube/Rob i)
VIDEO: Security cameras capture ‘just one more assault’ near B.C. high school

Third high-school related assault captured by Chilliwack resident’s cameras since beginning of 2021

FILE - In this Feb. 14, 2017, file photo, Oklahoma State Rep. Justin Humphrey prepares to speak at the State Capitol in Oklahoma City. A mythical, ape-like creature that has captured the imagination of adventurers for decades has now become the target of Rep. Justin Humphrey. Humphrey, a Republican House member has introduced a bill that would create a Bigfoot hunting season, He says issuing a state hunting license and tag could help boost tourism. (Steve Gooch/The Oklahoman via AP, File)
Oklahoma lawmaker proposes ‘Bigfoot’ hunting season

A Republican House member has introduced a bill that would create a Bigfoot hunting season

Economic Development and Official Languages Minister Melanie Joly responds to a question in the House of Commons Monday November 23, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Federal minister touts need for new B.C. economic development agency

Last December’s federal economic update promised a stimulus package of about $100 billion this year

FILE - In this Nov. 20, 2017, file photo, Larry King attends the 45th International Emmy Awards at the New York Hilton, in New York. Former CNN talk show host King has been hospitalized with COVID-19 for more than a week, the news channel reported Saturday, Jan. 2, 2021. CNN reported the 87-year-old King contracted the coronavirus and was undergoing treatment at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. (Photo by Andy Kropa/Invision/AP, File)
Larry King, broadcasting giant for half-century, dies at 87

King conducted an estimated 50,000 on-air interviews

Comox Valley RCMP are looking for witnesses after the theft of a generator worth thousands of dollars. Photo supplied
RCMP asking Vancouver Island residents to watch for stolen generator

Vehicle may have been travelling on Highway 19

Most Read