Talks with business owners

Vaccinations & supporting local business important issues

Article & images by Al Rivett

Above image: (L-R )Acacia Houghton, Mayor Mandy Martin, Greg Rowden, MP Philip Lawrence, Chad Miller and Marie Miller inside Lofty Kitchen

Northumberland-Peterborough South Conservative MP Philip Lawrence’s tour the riding continued on a cold and blustery afternoon in Colborne on Tuesday, March 16.

The riding tour, said Lawrence, is being used to connect with constituents and Northumberland’s small business owners who are providing him with feedback for the upcoming federal budget, expected to be delivered by the governing Liberals in April.

In a word, Lawrence said the budget will be “critical” to the health and well-being of people across Canada and Northumberland, which hasn’t been spared the economic ravages related to the year-long and counting COVID-19 pandemic.  And, as such, he wants local people to have a say in it.

“We’re facing the most important economic recovery of our generation and as we are coming into two years without a budget because of the federal liberal government. I felt it was important that we got input from the people on the ground, so we can give that insight to Minister (Federal Finance Minister Chrystia) Freeland so we can help power the strongest economic recovery in Canadian history,” said Lawrence.

(L-R) Acacia Houghton, MP Philip Lawrence, Mayor Mandy Martin outside Heath Vintage

With Cramahe Township Mayor Mandy Martin serving as the tour guide through downtown Colborne, Lawrence was joined on the King Street tour by his chief of staff Greg Rowden and constituency assistant Acacia Houghton.

The tour involved meeting with a cross-section of downtown business owners who gave Lawrence ideas of what could get Northumberland beyond the pandemic and bring the local economy back to a better footing.

The entourage visited Retro Rewind and co-owner Geoff Davis, who stressed to the MP the importance of getting local people vaccinated as well as keeping the local economy open.

(L-R) MP Philip Lawrence talks to Geoff Davis at Retro Rewind

“We will do everything we can to get the economy open,” said Lawrence in reply.

Lisa Heath, owner of Health Vintage, a cafe just down from Retro Rewind had a similar message for Lawrence about the importance of getting the virus under control.

“Get people vaccinated,” said Heath when asked by the MP what government can do to help out small businesses in the area.

The entourage also visited the Lofty Kitchen, owned by Chad and Marie Miller. Also the proprietors of the Lofty Butter Company, who asked the MP about current restrictions on selling small-batch butter. As it stands now, they can only sell through their storefront operation. Current legislation doesn’t allow for the sale of small-batch butter to bakeries and cafes. 

Lawrence said his government “wants to help cottage industries” and would be looking into the couple’s dilemma that currently prevents them from expanding their butter business.

Mayor Martin also took Lawrence to view Findings on King where he talked briefly with owner Eliza Ford and where he was impressed with the quality of work displayed in the store by local artisans. Ford said the shop sells jewellery, cards, lavender and books, to name a few items, from more than 30 local businesses, more than 20 of which are owned by women.

(L-R) Eliza Ford and MP Philip Lawrence inside Findings on King

Her message to Lawrence was a simple one: do all you can to support small, local businesses.

“I just told him how important it is for local businesses to be working together. We have over 30 local businesses in here and how we are all supporting each other,” said Ford.

Lawrence also stopped into Kim and Sam Real Estate, Marshall Gummer Estate Auctions, Pizza Amore, and the Cramahe Family Thrift Shop during the tour of downtown Colborne.

In concluding the tour, Mayor Martin told Lawrence how important it was to have the Township’s elected Member of Parliament in town.

“Thank you for taking the time; it means a lot,” she said.

Lawrence met with constituents, business owners and municipal leaders in Campbellford, Warkworth and Alderville on Monday. Later on Tuesday, he visited Grafton and met with Cobourg Mayor John Henderson. On Wednesday, March 17, he’ll pay a visit to Hastings.

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