Dear Member of Parliament ...
Thank you for taking the time to read this message. My name is Ruth Klahsen, and I own a small company located in Stratford, Ontario.
As Canada begins to relax COVID-19 protocols, I have been thinking so much about the next period of time. Specifically about how to conduct myself in the process of recovering from this pandemic and what my business (and the country) need as part of that journey.
The government support over the last year and a half is appreciated and has saved my business. I am most grateful for having been able to access it, but it makes sense that this financial support shifts. It may be daunting, but also necessary, to shift this funding into a more relevant model. The more I look at the next twelve months, the more I am convinced that it can't just disappear.
My suggestion would be to shift it into loans for recovery strategies. In my case, I need cash to be able purchase more milk so that I can continue to dig my way out of the hole the pandemic has created for me. But the money is also needed for necessary repairs to the dairy that have been untended for the last while. However, this needs to be done with wisdom and frugality - not a "Woohoo! Free money!" mentality.
The biggest problem is that small businesses cannot finance those investments first and wait for funds to arrive. Currently, there just is no money to spend.
Perhaps this would demand a relationship of trust between the Bank of Canada and the business owner? Or no payments (or no interest) for a 1-2 year period? Perhaps business owners would have to agree to a code of conduct in addition to the financing terms? This is just brainstorming, but perhaps these can be the basis for other ideas with merit.
Lastly, if I may, not one of us asked for this pandemic but some of us were given mandates. My hope is that the government will stop thinking of another election and instead focus on living in and working within the mandate they were given. That being one of a minority government tasked with governing the country fairly and progressively. I also truly believe that we need to have the foresight to take the country into the next evolution of its culture. If there is no Tommy Douglas in the offing perhaps a committee of Ken Dryden, Joe Clark and Bob Rae, or others, to help us evolve for the next decade.
I can't even imagine the wisdom and insight necessary to get us ready for the next period of history.
Please continue the excellent work you have been doing and perhaps stop stumping?
Ruth Klahsen, Monforte Dairy