Apr 062020

The Communist Party of Canada today warned that the 75% subsidy to Business, big and small, is more likely to add to the profits of the biggest corporations than to the wages and living standards of workers.

There are no guarantees that the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) funds will be transferred in full to workers, as the PM has stated that the government is working with corporations on the basis of “trust”. That’s an open door for massive giveaways to Big Business.

Instead of “trusting” big business to do the right thing, the federal government should do the right thing and fund all workers directly by expanding EI to cover 90% of previous earnings, for the full duration of unemployment.

The government should also double the Canada Emergency Response Benefit and extend its life until a Guaranteed Annual Livable Income can be rolled out across the country.

Another urgent priority is immediate action to provide healthcare and other frontline workers with the supplies and equipment they need now to keep them safe, and to keep the public safe from the COVID-19 pandemic. This action should include a public take-over and expansion of operations producing medical supplies and equipment, and heavy penalties including jail time against theft and/or profiteering on the production and sale of medical supplies and equipment.

Healthcare is an essential service and a human right, not a commodity

Public health services should be expanded to include public sector workers employed to take touchless temperatures at public venues like grocery stores, drug stores, public transit hubs and other places where people gather for necessities through the pandemic. Mass public screenings will save lives, as has been proven in China.

Big Business is not in business to provide work and wages to employees, or needed products to the public. Business is about making profits – first, last and always. The big transnational corporations can dig into their huge profits to carry them through this crisis. The government should require them to keep their employees on staff, and to pay sick pay and quarantine benefits at 100% of earnings while they are at home during the pandemic. Only essential services should be working. There is no safe workplace during a pandemic.

Workers already laid-off must be guaranteed the right to recall. Corporations must not be allowed to use the pandemic as an excuse to slash jobs and undermine collective agreements.

Aid to small business is a different matter, and should include immediate and long-term measures including direct subsidies, a freeze on taxes and rents, as well as measures to expand credit using the Bank of Canada. The government must strictly enforce a policy of no evictions and no foreclosures. Small business owners, farmers, fishers, and other self-employed and single-proprietor businesses should also be able to access Employment Insurance and the Canada Emergency Response Benefit to get them through the pandemic.

Big businesses such as the pharmaceutical companies, long-term care corporations, producers of medical equipment and supplies, and others that are vital to public health and an economic recovery benefiting the public, should be put under public ownership and democratic control. Public ownership of the banks, utilities, energy and natural resources are key to a people’s recovery, after the pandemic.

Fund healthcare! Fund wages, EI, and a guaranteed annual livable income!

No corporate bailouts!

People’s Needs, Not Corporate Greed!

Central Executive Committee
Communist Party of Canada