A reader of In-Sights, a respected retailer in Vancouver for many years, has been forced to close because of the coronavirus disruption. With permission, I publish the contents of a letter this small business person sent to BC’s Minister of Finance:
I hope you and yours are weathering this crisis in good health.
I know you also care deeply about the health and welfare of all the many small businesses here in BC.
There is no time to lose.
Nothing has yet been offered that will help millions of small businesses survive long enough to reopen once the government lifts this isolation directive.
We have been offered more debt. We don’t need more ways to drown.
The loans being offered will just prolong the agony for many, and they will never be able to repay them.
The Big Banks, however, will make out like bandits. They will be bailed out.
All efforts to retain employees, through wage subsidies, and personal rent deferrals will do nothing to help get the economy thriving again if the backbone of our economy, the small businesses, are not still standing after this crisis abates, to provide well paying full and part time jobs.
98% of all business in Canada is driven by small businesses. You’d think that the government would want to try to enable us to get through this to be strong enough to keep going, keep employing people, keep buying products from our suppliers, keep neighbourhoods vibrant and services open, keep paying rent and ALL THAT TAX….PST, GST, payroll tax, corporate tax, personal tax, property tax – and the ever increasing bank fees and credit card fees just to operate.
The wrong questions are being asked.
Who are the essential services to kick start the economy back to health when this crisis has abated?
SMALL BUSINESSES, that’s who.
We are the very backbone of our economy. Without us, there will be millions without jobs, still collection EI, and communities gutted.
The largest fixed costs we have are RENT, and PAYROLL. We need rent relief immediately before more businesses fail.
How on earth are we to ever pay months of deferred back rent, in a stagnant economy?
I wrote the following to Mary Ng and Bill Morneau, in hopes that meaningful financial aid will be immediately implemented before it’s too late.
We live in hope.
After the financial meltdown in the first decade of this century, Palgrave Macmillan published Crisis and Recovery: Ethics, Economics and Justice, a book relevant to today’s crisis. It is described at Goodreads:
The financial crisis is about more than money. It is also about morality, casting an uncomfortable light on the links between the activities of bankers and the wellbeing of society as a whole. The idea that economics is morally neutral or that finance should be above ethical scrutiny deserves to be challenged. The Most Reverend Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, and Larry Elliott, Economics Editor of the Guardian, bring together a group of distinguished commentators to open up the ethical debate in the search for a fairer vision of economic justice
Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman, World Economic Forum:
The future of humankind in an interconnected and globalized world will be based on the notion of togetherness. This notion is at the base of any recovery and this book provides the principles for how this can be achieved.
I hold that collectively, we learned little from the 2007-2009 global financial crisis. The rich kept getting richer and the poor kept getting poorer.
During times of crisis, the first notion of politicians throughout the developed world is to assist large corporations, the ones that spend many dollars on lobbyists and political contributions and offer revolving doors through which senior civil servants move.
A bias in Canada toward the wealthiest elements in our economy exists despite 90% of jobs being provided by small and medium sized businesses.