Alberta’s United Conservatives among parties seeking COVID-19 wage aid

Alberta’s United Conservatives among parties seeking COVID-19 wage aid

EDMONTON — Alberta’s United Conservative Party says it is applying for the federal wage subsidy program during the COVID-19 pandemic while the Opposition NDP says it is holding off.

UCP spokesman Evan Menzies said Monday it is the best option for its workers with the locked-down economy leading to a reduction in fundraising opportunities.

“We have lost fundraising events in our 2020 calendar due to the restrictions on gatherings,” Menzies said in a statement.

“Rather than fire staff, we plan to apply for the temporary federal program, like thousands of other business and non-profits have across the country, to help maintain our eight staff and the families that rely on them.

“The alternative was laying off staff and putting those individuals on the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)/Employment Insurance.”

NDP provincial secretary Brandon Stevens said the NDP has eight staffers.

“Our team has worked hard since mid-March to make sure that our fundraising respects the very real health and economic anxieties of Albertans,” Stevens said in a statement Monday.

“To date, we have met our fundraising goals and have not had to apply for the federal wage subsidy or the federal rental assistance program.

“We continue to closely monitor our fundraising so that, if needed, we can make adjustments to keep staff employed and maintain our operations.”

Alberta’s United Conservatives, led by Jason Kenney, won the provincial election in the spring of 2019, but finished the year with a $2.3-million deficit and net liabilities of $1.1 million.

The NDP, the only other party with members in the legislature, recorded a surplus of almost $750,000 in 2019 with net liabilities of close to $377,000.

In Manitoba, the governing Progressive Conservatives and the Opposition NDP say they have not applied for the benefit.

In Saskatchewan neither the governing Saskatchewan Party nor the Opposition New Democrats are taking the subsidy.

Federally, the Liberals, Conservatives, the NDP and the Green party have all applied for the subsidy.

The Bloc Quebecois did not apply, saying the subsidy is designed to rescue those facing bankruptcy.

Under the $73-billion program, Ottawa will cover 75 per cent of wages — up to $847 per week, per employee — for companies and organizations that have seen revenues from January and February decline by 15 per cent in March, or 30 per cent in April and May.

The program was initially intended to apply to payrolls between March 15 and June 6, but has now been extended to the end of August.

Political parties as non-profit entities are eligible to apply.

In Ottawa, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau didn’t answer repeated questions Monday about why his party needed to access that support.

Instead, Trudeau spoke broadly about the aim of the program to support families and workers through the pandemic crisis.

Alberta is continuing to see flat or declining caseload numbers.

Dr. Deena Hinshaw, the province’s chief medical officer of health, reported 19 new cases Monday, bringing the total active cases to 762. There are 45 people in hospital with COVID-19, five of whom are in intensive care.

Hinshaw reported three more deaths, bringing that total to 138.

Also Monday, Calgary and Brooks were allowed to join the rest of the province by opening restaurants, barber shops and hair salons. Reopenings in those two cities were delayed by comparatively higher case numbers.

The next phase of the relaunch is set for June 19, when spas, movie theatres and other businesses could reopen.

Hinshaw said if the cases continue to decline, they could discuss an earlier relaunch date.

“That’s really up to all of us together to keep those numbers low,” Hinshaw said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 25, 2020.

Dean Bennett, The Canadian Press

Coronavirus

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

Just Posted

Alberta has 3,651 active cases of COVID-19. (File photo)
432 new COVID cases sets another record Friday

Central zone holds steady at 126 active cases

"We are looking seriously at the spread and determining what our next steps should be," says Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, as the daily number of COVID-19 cases continues to climb.
427 new COVID cases is highest in Alberta ever

Central zone has 126 active cases of COVID-19

100 Women Who Care make a donation to Sylvan Lake Food Bank and Bethany Care Centre. Photo By Megan Roth/Sylvan Lake News
100 Women Who Care donate to four Sylvan Lake groups

The Food Bank, Bethany Sylvan Lake, Community Partners and the Library all received a donation

RCMP. (Black Press File Photo)
Calgary man dies in two-vehicle collision near Sylvan Lake

A semi truck collided with a SUV just east of Hwy. 781 on Hwy 11.

Shaelynn Decock and her dog Taco, who has been missing since Aug. 26. Photo Submitted
Sylvan Lake woman looking for closure for her stolen dog

Shaelynn Decock says it has been two months since she last saw her dog Taco

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson, B.C. NDP leader John Horgan and B.C. Greens leader Sonia Furstenau. (Black Press Media)
VIDEO: One day until B.C. voters go to the polls in snap election defined by pandemic

NDP Leader John Horgan’s decision to call an election comes more than a year ahead of schedule and during a pandemic

This photo provided by Air Force Reserve shows a sky view of Hurricane Epsilon taken by Air Force Reserve hurricane hunter team over the Atlantic Ocean taken Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020.   Epsilon’s maximum sustained winds have dropped slightly as it prepares to sideswipe Bermuda on a path over the Atlantic Ocean.  The National Hurricane Center says it should come close enough Thursday, Oct. 22, evening to merit a tropical storm warning for the island.  (Air Force Reserve via AP)
Hurricane Epsilon expected to remain offshore but will push waves at Atlantic Canada

Epsilon is not expected to have any real impact on land

A voter places her absentee ballot in the ballot box, Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020, at Merrill Auditorium in Portland, Maine. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Robert F. Bukaty
American voters living in Canada increasingly being counted in presidential race

The largest number of Canadian-based American voters cast their ballots in New York and California

A composite image of three photographs shows BC NDP Leader John Horgan, left, in Coquitlam, B.C., on Sept. 25, 2020; BC Green Party Leader Sonia Furstenau, centre, in Victoria on Sept. 24, 2020; and BC Liberal Party Leader Andrew Wilkinson Pitt Meadows, B.C., on Sept. 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck, Chad Hipolito
British Columbia votes in snap election called during COVID-19 pandemic

NDP Leader John Horgan called the snap election one year before the fixed voting date

Nunavut's provincial flag flies on a flag pole in Ottawa, on Tuesday June 30, 2020. The annual report from Nunavut's representative for children and youth says "complacency and a lack of accountability" in the territory's public service means basic information about young people needing services isn’t tracked. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Nunavut’s young people ‘should be expecting more’ from government services: advocate

‘The majority of information we requested is not tracked or was not provided by departments’

Ryen Williams, 11, with a lost miniature horse at JJ Collett Oct. 23. Photo by Don Williams
UPDATE: Owners found

Father and son found him while out for a walk at JJ Collett

A Le Chateau retail store is shown in Montreal on Wednesday July 13, 2016. Le Chateau Inc. says it is seeking court protection from creditors under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act to allow it to liquidate its assets and wind down its operations.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Clothing retailer Le Chateau plans to close its doors, files for CCAA protection

Le Chateau said it intends to remain fully operational as it liquidates its 123 stores

U.S. border officers at the Peace Arch crossing arrested two men on California warrants this week. (File photo)
Ottawa predicts system delays, backlogs unless court extends life of refugee pact

Canada and the United States recognize each other as safe places to seek protection

Conservative member of Parliament Michelle Rempel Garner, left to right, Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole and Conservative Deputy Leader Candice Bergen arrive to hold a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
No-confidence showdown over sweeping Tory motion on government handling of pandemic

The Conservative motion is to be put to a vote Monday and has the support of both the Bloc Québécois and NDP

Most Read