DAWSON CREEK, B.C – Peace River South MLA Mike Bernier hopes, this year, the B.C government listens to the small businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We have so many of our small businesses, our mom and pop operations in the [Peace Region]. Those are the businesses that we rely on when you’re a small non-profit group, or a hockey team or a soccer group, gymnastics club when you’re looking for help, who do you go to? It’s usually these small companies that support you. Well, they need our help now,” says Bernier.

Business owners have told the local politician that they’re having troubles with supports that the provincial and federal governments have put in place.

“So many businesses are not applying or finding out that they don’t qualify.”

“I hear from so many businesses, some that have been fortunate enough to be creative, to find ways to stay open. There are many others that have limped through 2020 and are telling me that, in the next month or two, there’s going to be some tough decisions in the business community of whether they stay open or not.”

Bernier looks upon residents to shop local to support these businesses while asking the government to listen to the challenges they face, specifically taxes.

“When you look at increased minimum wage, and small business taxes — that are hitting them right now — these are issues that companies are telling me, especially as the finance critic, that it’s affecting their bottom line, the margins are not huge.”

When asked how he believes businesses can bounce back, Bernier says he is concerned because there was a decline in revenue for businesses before the pandemic. He blames this on policies put into place by the current NDP government.

“I don’t want to sound negative, as an opposition critic, my job is to shed light on some of the problems that the government has. The NDP has never been one known for its fiscal responsibility, or ability to grow business and support businesses.”

Bernier adds that the BC Liberal’s will work hard to ensure the current provincial government supplies better supports for British Columbians.

“This is not something that can drag out for a couple of years, because COVID has just put another nail in the coffin for businesses that we have to work on.”

The region’s road network, Ministry of Transportation cuts, and healthcare problems are a few issues Bernier wants to address in Victoria.

On Monday, the B.C Liberal Caucus announced Bernier had been appointed Chair for the Select Standing Committee on Public Accounts.