View Royal man worries prorogued Parliament will mean longer wait for benefits

View Royal man worries prorogued Parliament will mean longer wait for benefits
Watch A View Royal man says red tape has delayed his federal benefits and now that Parliament is prorogued he fears he'll have to wait even longer. April Lawrence reports.

Stephen Anderson doesn’t make the drive into work as much these days. Due to COVID-19 and a subsequent slow down at the Langford factory he works at, employees agreed to a federal work-share program back in June.

“We can take additional days off work if work is slow, up to three days a week and we’re entitled to 55 per cent of our wages,” Anderson said.

Or so he thought. Because he had been on the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, or CERB, for a short time in March making the transition is proving to be a tangle of red tape.

“I was told they’re still weeks away and that they still require legislation to be passed in the House of Commons before there’s actually a fix for myself and my colleagues at the factory that are in the same boat,” Anderson said.

Then on Tuesday, Anderson’s hopes were dashed further with an announcement by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

“Today, I have asked the Governor-General to prorogue Parliament,” Trudeau announced in Ottawa.

It means Parliament will be shut down until Sept. 23, with no committees, including the one looking into the WE scandal, and no bills or new legislation.

“There are other organizations and sectors of the economy who have been waiting or awaiting decisions from the Government of Canada, some of those are on their own some are in partnership with provinces, so this is not just a political decision by the P.M. this has real financial and economic implications for a lot of Canadians,” said UVic Political Scientist Michael Prince.

“I’m disappointed, furious, I think Canadians should be furious,” said Victoria NDP MP Laurel Collins.

“We’re in a global pandemic, we’re in an economic crisis but instead of helping Canadians when they need it most, they’re hiding from their own scandals.”

Trudeau insists help for Canadians, like the CERB and wage subsidies, will not be impacted by proroguing Parliament.

“This is our chance to build a more resilient Canada,” he said.

Anderson just hopes his help comes soon.

“I’ve cut my cable, I’ve cut my cell phone, we’ve taken one vehicle off the road, I bike to work, our food has gone down,” he said.

“I can personally say I’ve lost a lot of sleep.”

Parliament will resume in September with a throne speech and confidence vote to determine if the Trudeau government holds on to power or faces an election.

April LawrenceApril Lawrence

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