The Grapevine Votes:

Kings-Hants 2021 Federal Election Candidates Share Their Plans for Small Business Recovery and the Climate Emergency

Please note: In order to prevent any implicit bias, we do not edit candidate responses for spelling, grammar, or clarity.

The Grapevine: If elected, how will you support small businesses in Kings-Hants, in particular through the challenges of pandemic recovery?

Kody Blois, Incumbent, Liberal Party of Canada:
Small businesses are the backbone of our economy, especially in rural communities, and they have had a tough 18 months. I’m proud of the work our government has done to support small businesses and keep them open, including acting quickly to introduce emergency support programs like the Wage Subsidy, Rent Subsidy and the Emergency Response Benefit, that have helped mitigate the impact to individuals and businesses alike. Our party’s platform continues to be released, but we’re committed to extending Canada Recovery Hiring Program to help businesses hire back more staff. We will also protect our vibrant tourism sector in Kings-Hants with temporary wage and rent support to help operators get through the winter. Another initiative that will help support small businesses is our commitment to $10 a day childcare. By increasing access to childcare spaces, introducing more before-and-after school care options, and making it more affordable for families, more people will be able to get back to work and kick-start the economy.

Mark Parent, Candidate, Conservative Party of Canada:
Over the course of the pandemic, millions of Canadians lost their jobs, with women accounting for more than half of year-over-year employment losses. The tourism and hospitality sectors, important sectors of our economy here in Kings-Hants, were among the hardest hit, as were part-time and temporary workers.

To get our economy back on track, Canada’s Recovery plan will recover the million jobs lost in the sectors hit hardest by the pandemic and get people back to work in good jobs. Once the Canada Emergency Wage subsidy (CEWS) ends, Canada’s Conservatives will introduce the Canada Job Surge Plan to get Canadians back to work. An O’Toole government will pay at least 25% of the salary of net new hires for six months after CEWS expires. To help those who have been unemployed long-term, our plan will cover up to 50% of the salary for those who have been unemployed for 6 months or more.

The Conservative Main Street Business Loan program will provide loans of up to 4 months of pre-pandemic revenue up to a maximum of $200,000 and we will forgive up to 25% depending on a company’s revenue loss. In addition, we will make the first $25,000 of our Canada Investment Accelerator refundable for small businesses, providing a 5% investment tax credit for any capital investment made in 2022 and 2023.

Appointing a Minster of Rural Affairs to Cabinet is also an important commitment to rural Canadian businesses as is a commitment to connect all of Canada to high-speed internet by 2025. Canada’s Conservatives will also ensure our country’s tourism strategy supports rural tourism and encourages Canadian and visitors from around the world to explore our region.

Stephen Schneider, Candidate, New Democratic Party of Canada:
As the Member of Parliament for Kings-Hants, my economic development efforts would focus on small businesses and co-operatives. Given the retail and hospitality sectors were hit so hard by COVID, they would be a particular (although not exclusive) focus of my outreach. Perhaps the greatest support a M.P can provide to local businesses in the near future is to help ensure everybody who is eligible for a vaccination receives one. I believe we could achieve a higher vaccination rate if we had a much more robust public education campaign. I also support vaccine passports. I am an enthusiastic proponent of a permanent basic income guarantee for small business owners that would provide financial security during times of crisis (and which would replace the myriad temporary emergency government benefits enacted during COVID). This should be supplemented by expanding access to the Community Economic Development Investment Fund for entrepreneurs and small businesses to help them start out, grow and innovate. I am also in favour of lowering expenses for small businesses such as cutting credit card processing fees and increasing labour tax credits to offset increases in minimum wage. I would help businesses transition into the new green economy and provide assistance to promote greater diversity and equity in the workplace. I am a strong believer in fostering partnerships between the private sector and research-based institutions (like Acadia University) to help small businesses experiment and innovate. I will continue the efforts to ensure high-speed internet is available throughout Kings-Hants. I would also be an active promoter of co-operatives – businesses that are jointly owned by its members who use its products or services.

The Grapevine: As a Member of Parliament, what concrete action will you take in addressing the climate emergency?

Kody Blois, Incumbent, Liberal Party of Canada:
Tackling the climate crisis is an important issue and it is something our party has been committed to, and that is reflected in our promise kept to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by putting a price on pollution. We’ve also set ambitious, but achievable, GHG reduction targets and accelerating Canada’s shift to net-zero emissions by 2050. As an advocate for Kings-Hants’ robust agricultural sector, I believe our agriculture producers can play a key role in fighting climate change. We need to put a stronger emphasis on food security and supporting local food, which is something I will continue to advocate for. Through the Agricultural Clean Technology Program, our government has been helping farmers transition to a low-carbon economy.

Mark Parent, Candidate, Conservative Party of Canada:
During my time as Minister of Environment and Labour for the province of Nova Scotia, I championed the passage of the Environmental Goals and Sustainable Prosperity Act which was a trend-setting piece of legislation among the first in Canada to marry concern for the well being of the environment with concern for the growth of the economy. I will carry my concern for the environment and the need to act urgently to protect it to Ottawa.

Canada’s Conservatives have a serious plan for to combat climate change by introducing the Low Carbon Savings Account that will incent Canadians to make greener lifestyle choices that will reduce their emissions while allowing them to decide what works best for them and their family. Not one penny of the price on hydrocarbons will go to the government. Canadians will also be credited when they purchase transit passes, bicycles and invest in energy efficient home improvements. Canada’s Conservatives will also mandate that by 2030, 30 per cent of new light duty vehicles sold will be zero emission vehicles.

Stephen Schneider, Candidate, New Democratic Party of Canada:
Climate change is the gravest existential crisis we face and is a central theme in my campaign. I support the immediate implementation of aggressive measures to lower greenhouse gas emissions through the eradication of fossil fuels and the switch to renewable resources. As an MP I would push for a comprehensive climate action plan, such as that proposed by the NDP, that can stabilize the global temperature increase at 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2030. To reach this target we would need to achieve net carbon-free electricity by 2030 and 100% non-emitting electricity by 2040 (if not sooner). Within a local and provincial context, I would emphasize the following: transition away from coal; promote energy efficiency in homes and buildings; encourage the sale of electric cars and the installation of more charging stations; upgrade and green our electricity grids; work with the agricultural sector to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and help farmers, local businesses, non-profits, and community groups find financing and other support for green initiatives. I am a strong proponent of the Green New Deal which envisions an environmentally sustainable economy – spurred by massive public and private investments – and changes to individual lifestyles so we all inflict the least amount of damage on the environment. This future should include a vision of environmental justice that supports those marginalized communities (both locally and globally) by promoting the rights of Indigenous peoples, addressing environmental racism, reducing poverty and inequality, and promoting good union jobs in the new green economy. I would also support any legislation that recognizes the legal rights of nature – the idea that ecosystems and natural communities have an independent and inalienable right to exist and flourish. I would use my training as a criminologist to push for the criminalization of certain harms against the environment and enact laws that hold corporations and their directors and executives criminally liable for such harms.