By Adam Olsen
MLA for Saanich North and the Islands
COVID-19, or the novel coronavirus, is spreading quickly. We are in a state of shock as we see the impact of this virus globally and as businesses and institutions continue to announce suspension of operations and indefinite closures.
Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Minister of Health Adrian Dix have been exemplary in the handling of this crisis. It’s important that everyone in our community follow their recommendations to help stop the growth of this virus. For the most up-to-date information about COVID-19, please visit covid-19.bccdc.ca.
As a result of their recommendations we have closed our constituency office to walk-in traffic. Our team is working from home and will be available by email at Adam.Olsen.MLA@leg.bc.ca and by phone at 250-655-5600. We will continue to process casework as usual and advocate on behalf of everyone in Saanich North and the Islands.
I’m very concerned for the health and well-being of everyone in our community, especially those who are at the greatest risk and for those whose income or business is affected by the closures. I’m working hard as your MLA to advocate for solutions that meet your needs, especially for those hit hardest by this crisis.
It’s encouraging to see the many examples of community resiliency, where residents and local businesses are helping their neighbours. People are finding ways to support each other by creating new networks to help those who are unable to get groceries or medications, and people isolating themselves at home to protect friends and community members from potential harm.
The challenges we are facing are unprecedented and there is critical work being done by governments of all levels to address the immediate needs in our communities. The announcements of financial support from the federal government are a positive step in providing relief for people and businesses that are feeling significant financial impacts.
This is really just the initial phase of efforts to address this social and economic crisis. There will be more announcements made about relief programs, including from the provincial government. It’s important that we not only provide the immediate support that is needed but that we also address the structural issues that have left many individuals and businesses so vulnerable.
I will have more to share soon about how the provincial government is planning to support British Columbians. My colleague Sonia Furstenau and I will continue to work on behalf of our constituents, and all British Columbians, to bring forward ideas, policies, and best practices to government, while also playing our important role as an opposition party to ensure transparency and accountability.
We are in unprecedented times, and we are all going to face challenges over the weeks and months ahead. It is essential that our path through this crisis and beyond is one that is marked by kindness, compassion, and empathy.
Adam Olsen is MLA for Saanich North and the Islands