James Cumming, MP, Edmonton Centre
Although it seemed unfathomable a few months ago – we’ve done it! We have successfully adapted our lives, relationships, jobs, and hobbies to fit into life as we know it: the new normal. Although the road has been bumpy, I am so proud of all of you for working together to get us where we are today. Whether it has been through volunteering in your community, helping a friend in need, or continuing to follow public health measures, I am confident that we will continue to have a successful journey on the path forward, together.
Like many of you, I have returned to the office to welcome new social distancing measures and explore new ways and technologies to continue to work for you in Ottawa, and even connect with you, screen-to-screen. While my days may look different, physically my job as an MP has been business as usual. We have continued our sittings virtually, with the Standing Committee on Finance where my Conservative colleagues and I have been covering a number topics, which I hope you have all kept up-to-date with through my livestreams on Facebook or by visiting the Parliament of Canada online.
I have had countless Zoom meetings and conversations with our riding’s stakeholders, small businesses, and industry leaders to collect feedback on how they would like to be supported while our country heads towards economic recovery. One of my favourite initiatives that I’ve taken recently has been connecting with at least one local, small business or operation located in my riding each week. Whether it’s grabbing a coffee at a local coffee shop, touring a textile factory in the riding, or just sitting down for a conversation, it’s these boots-on-the-ground experiences that allow me to see the real impact that the pandemic has had on our business community. This has allowed me to better advocate federally for those affected by the pandemic; point folks in the right direction for various rent relief, wage subsidy, or emergency fund programs; and better understand how we can achieve full economic recovery once this all behind us. If you’re a small business in the area, I would love to hear from you and see how you’ve managed to cope during this crisis – reach out!
As your representative in Ottawa, I am committed to ensuring that you have the most up-to-date information regarding the various pandemic response programs available to you, which you can find on my website www.jamescumming.ca or by visiting www.canada.ca/COVID-19. These are tough times for us all, and I want you all to know that you can connect with me any time if you have been experiencing any issues applying for the programs in place, whether as a business or an individual. While I still can’t take walk-ins at my constituency office, you can continue to contact me by phone at 780-442-1888, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @jameskcumming.
To say the least, this will be a summer that we will never forget. The past few months have been an incredibly challenging time for all us, but I am optimistic that we will recover stronger than ever. You might be asking, “Why?” Well for starters, businesses have responded to this crisis with unbelievable creativity, expanding their innovative and entrepreneurial spirits to survive. Healthcare workers have been making enormous sacrifices since day one to keep our communities safe. Our volunteers are dedicating more and more time to help the vulnerable and, of course, our seniors have continued to be strong advocates for future generations going forward.
I know that this hasn’t been easy for anyone and I’d be lying if I said I haven’t had my own moments of hopelessness, loneliness, and defeat. All we can do is continue to try our best, be kind to one another, take each day in stride, and know that as distant as it may seem some days, this too shall pass.
James Cumming is the Member of Parliament for Edmonton Centre, which includes the neighbourhoods of Canora and West Jasper/Sherwood.