Collectively, our “team of 5 million” worked together incredibly well to stop the spread of Covid-19 during April and May.
I was very impressed by the determination and goodwill shown by Hamiltonians during this challenging period. So many people helped as “essential workers”, working from home, by looking after the elderly in our neighbourhoods and so on. Well done and thank you all.
My electorate agents and I had the privilege of helping a huge number of my constituents during this time with a staggering array of challenging and sometimes distressing requests. In my 12 years as Hamilton West’s MP we had never been busier, so it was tiring but also very rewarding to be able to help so many people, greatly assisted by local organisations and dedicated public servants.
I particularly thank Neil and the team at the Western Community Centre who did a magnificent job, especially to help feed and assist those who are most vulnerable in our community. We have many wonderful local people and organisations who support the homeless and others who need extra support and I am always so grateful and humbled by their compassion and service.
Of course, the public health response came at a great cost. Having saved lives, now it’s vital that we focus on saving livelihoods.
The recent report that 37,500 people lost their jobs during April, with tens of thousands more jobs at risk in the coming months, is sobering.
That’s why I argued strongly in Parliament for the Government to put more emphasis into keeping businesses in business.
I assisted many small business owners in Hamilton West to access the wage subsidy during the lockdown, and I was as grateful as they were for that vital support, but the best way to avoid future job losses and to begin the massive recovery effort that we now face, and for which our children and grandchildren will be paying for decades to come, is to support existing businesses to stay afloat.