Statement from John Lohr, Colton LeBlanc and Kim Masland on the need to support small businesses in Nova Scotia

As the three PC MLAs in Western Nova Scotia, we are asking Premier Rankin to reconsider the lack of supports offered to small businesses and to once and for all recognize the vital role they play in our economy.

Current rules surrounding ‘non-essential’ businesses have left our business owners struggling. Some are opening, most are closed. Curbside sales or online simply do not work for many.

When ‘essential’ stores are allowed to sell ‘non-essential’ items that are also carried in our small businesses that the government has shut down, the government is picking winners and losers.

We are calling on the government to release benchmarks for reopening based on epidemiology. People are losing trust because it seems as though these restrictions are made with little transparency, on a whim, and with no plan to back them up.

These businesses have been exceptional at following the rules, done their own contact tracing, and have been told to close. When government forced businesses to close, they had a responsibility to even the playing field and provide adequate support.

We are in this for one reason: Our Premier failed to show the leadership required to keep us safe, all while small businesses were focused on doing just that. Iain Rankin opened up the province to 100% capacity without a plan. Now he’s refusing to help businesses that can’t open up at all.

The new Premier may not appreciate what it’s like to walk down barren mainstreets across rural Nova Scotia. Our small communities were hurting before the pandemic and his preference towards big box stores will be the nail in the coffin for many small businesses. It’s time to step up, do the right thing and support them.