MP Richard Cannings is urging government to support workers affected by COVID-19, as well as the drop in oil. (File)

COVID-19: MP Cannings calls on government to support energy sector workers

MP says funding should directly support workers, not subsidies to shareholders or CEO bonuses

Amid trying times, Richard Cannings is urging the government to directly support energy sector workers.

In a release this afternoon the South Okanagan-West Kootenay MP urged the Minister of Natural Resources to work with the NDP government on a stimulus plan that would ensure programming and funding support go directly to workers, and not as subsidies to shareholders or CEO bonuses.

He’s says he’s speaking up for workers affected by both the COVID-19 pandemic and what he referenced as an “unprecedented drop in oil and gas prices.”

READ MORE: Economists predict recession coming due to COVID-19 and plunge in oil prices

Cannings described a letter, penned alongside Edmonton-Strathcona NDP NP Heather McPherson to Minister Seamus O’Regan that he says outlines a plan to secure good jobs in a diverse and sustainable economy with, “more opportunities for workers, not less.”

“In this moment of potential collapse, we need to stand with energy sector workers. These decisions will benefit all Canadians,” said Cannings on Wednesday.

Cannings is pleased the government recognizes the impacts COVID-19 is having, but said the protection of jobs and support for workers must be at the centre of any stimulus or support package.

“Subsidies and tax cuts directed to the oil and gas sector by the Alberta Government in 2019 did nothing for Alberta workers and their families,” Cannings said.

“Instead, those who benefited directly were wealthy corporations and their shareholders, most of whom are not Canadian.”

Cannings commended the government’s funding plan to employ oil patch workers in the cleanup of orphaned oil wells. He added that support for infrastructure development and grants to support research, development and technology transfer will “help to ensure a more diverse economy in Alberta and across the country.”

Cannings is also in support of the emergency legislation passed in the House of Commons this morning to free up $82 billion in order to help Canadians weather the current COVID-19 crisis.

“The NDP plan to put support directly into the hands of workers through an immediate $2,000 subsidy was embraced this morning by government,” he said.

“We are encouraged to see the government reflect and adjust their support to directly support workers. We will keep up the pressure to see this continue across future announcements.”

READ MORE: United Way launches COVID-19 response plan to support the most vulnerable

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