Nanaimo-Ladysmith MP Paul Manly will host an online town hall on Saturday, April 25.
The meeting will take place at 7:15 p.m. on Manly’s YouTube channel. He’ll deliver a 20-minute update on his work in Ottawa. Constituents will then have an hour to share questions and comments via the crowdsourcing platform, ThoughtExchange.
ThoughtExchange is an online platform that allows constituents to anonymously ask questions, and respond to polls. There will be a pre-event ThoughtExchange asking constituents what they believe are the most significant challenges to think about in response to COVID-19. ThoughtExchange will then ask constituents to rate other people’s thoughts on a scale of one to five, and this well help identify the most important ideas.
Manly had a series of community meetings planned throughout the riding prior to the COVID-19 closures of all non-essential services, and limits on public gatherings. Only two of the meetings, in Cedar and Saltair, were held before COVID-19 caused the rest of the events to be cancelled.
With concerns swirling around federal financial assistance, Manly said it’s even more important to take questions from the riding than before.
“Lots of people are missing the eligibility requirements for CERB, the small business loans, and the wage subsidy. Lots of people are falling through the cracks. We’re really working on identifying where those gaps are. As we do that we keep feeding information to government ministers and parliamentary secretaries,” Manly said.
Manly’s constituency office has experienced a barrage of requests for help accessing federal COVID-19 programs. It is expected that conversation around COVID-19, and what Manly is doing at the federal level, will dominate much of the town hall conversation.
“What we’re doing is we’re checking to make sure people haven’t missed something with the eligibility. We’re also documenting all the ways people are ineligible, and I bring those forward in technical briefings,” Manly said.
MPs are involved in technical briefings every day with government agencies dealing with the COVID-19 response. The technical briefings give MPs the chance to ask questions and critique the government response, and it gives the government agencies the opportunity to change their programming to better help Canadians in crisis.
“The government is really motivated. They understand that people need help and they need it now,” Manly said.
Manly encourages any Nanaimo-Ladysmith constituents with questions and concerns around federal COVID-19 support to get in touch with his constituency office. When constituents share their experiences, it gives Manly specific cases and information to report back to the federal government.
From what Manly has heard from the riding so far, he believes the government needs to be more flexible with its supports.
“There’s just so many people who need help,” Manly said. “The vast majority of Canadians are honest, hard-working people. We need to help people that need help. Anybody who’s asking for help should get it.”