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“I am a Canadian, free to speak without fear, free to worship in my own way, free to stand for what I think right, free to oppose what I believe wrong, or free to choose those who shall govern my country. This heritage of freedom I pledge to uphold for myself and all mankind.” ~~ John G. Diefenbaker

MIKE BERNIER -- It’s also why we are pushing government to make better decisions for businesses, and to acknowledge the additional pressures they are under

Peace River South MLA Mike Bernier

It’s great to see the entrepreneurial spirit that is driving this reopening. Owners and operators have gone through one of the toughest couple of months that small businesses and employers have faced in almost a century.

So many of them faced a complete shutdown because of COVID-19. They struggled to stay afloat through the pandemic and their closure. Now they are looking to adapt to the new normal so they can get people back on the job and welcome customers back. It’s a daunting task.

“ ... (on Thursday) the BC Liberals called on the Government to step up and help our small community businesses and received a sharp NO from the Government and Minister. It seems the NDP are great at shutting things down (but for good reason in this case I will add) but have no clue how to open things back up ...”

There are new rules on social distancing, cleaning, and public safety to be implemented. And then there is the simple day-to-day challenge of meeting a payroll and managing a business.

Unfortunately, their efforts to get their employees back to work and their businesses up and running are not being helped by government. I’ve connected with many businesses who’ve been working to get their businesses open by the end of May and they’ve told me the one thing they need – clear and precise information – has been lacking.

Owners and managers have told me that when they ask WorkSafeBC whether their business falls into a category that is able to reopen (or not), they are simply told the rules for reopening if they choose to do so. They have no clear direction what category their businesses is in.

"... People are left scrambling with poorly thought out decisions. Whether it’s sending kids back to school with no real plan or telling business they can open with no info or support. If we are going to get our economy going again, we need better than this ..."

It’s frustrating and confusing for people whose operations and futures are already under threat. I’ll keep pushing the government to find a way to deliver better answers to our small- and medium-sized local businesses.

We also have the chance, as a community, to get behind our local businesses. It is why I’m working with colleagues as we explore ways to help local businesses get people back on the job and back in stores.
It’s also why we are pushing Government to make better decisions for businesses, and to acknowledge the additional pressures they are under.

We’re also encouraging everyone who can to shop local – something that will be a key part of the new normal. Every dollar spent close to home helps support a neighbour, helps support local services, and helps build a stronger community.

Make your next purchase at the store instead of online. Support a local restaurant by ordering take out – or dining in if they’re set up for that. Each of us can play a key role in the economic recovery.

The last week of May is National Tourism Week. Long trips are still not going to be part of this. Instead, it’s a great time to be a part of the recovery by being a tourist at home.

Patronize a local business, buy a gift card, and safely explore open facilities close to home.


Mike Bernier ... was re-elected MLA for Peace River South in 2017, and is currently the Official Opposition Critic for Oil and Gas Development; he also sits on the Select Standing Committee on Legislative Initiatives. In the past, he has served as Minister of Education, and as Parliamentary Secretary for Energy Literacy and the Environment for the Minister of Environment. He has also served on the Cabinet Committee on Strong Economy.


Before being elected to the Legislature in 2013, Mike served as mayor of Dawson Creek, elected in 2008 and re-elected in 2011. He also served as a Dawson Creek city councillor from 2005 to 2008.


Mike has lived in Dawson Creek since 1993 and has 20 years of experience in the natural gas industry.


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