After small local distilleries produced tens of thousands of litres of hand sanitizer for free for months during the pandemic, the Liberal government thanked them by turning around and giving paid contracts to large companies like Fluid Energy Group and Irving Oil, according to a media release from the federal New Democratic Party. The release stated that New Democrats are calling on the government to acknowledge the invaluable contribution made by these small, local businesses with more financial support.
“So many industrious businesses stepped up and did their part to help out their neighbours and community. If the pandemic has shown us anything, it’s that we all do better when we take care of each other,” stated North Island-Powell River MP Rachel Blaney. “It’s incredibly disappointing to see that the government doesn’t have small businesses’ backs the way that they should.”
Shelter Point Distillery in Oyster River, Wayward Distillery in Courtenay and Ampersand Distilling and Stillhead Distillery in the Cowichan Valley are among those across the country that produced tens of thousands of litres of hand sanitizer during the first wave of the pandemic despite having to close their doors to the public and losing their source of income, the release stated. The release stated that New Democrats have been advocating for increased support to small businesses since the beginning of the pandemic, including backdating the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) to April 1.