Prime Minister Justin Trudeau gives a COVID-19 update in front of Rideau Cottage on Wednesday, June 17, 2020. (CPAC)

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau gives a COVID-19 update in front of Rideau Cottage on Wednesday, June 17, 2020. (CPAC)

Trudeau meets with Downtown Surrey BIA

Monday’s digital meeting was closed to the media

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met virtually with the Downtown Surrey Business Improvement Association in a digital meeting that was closed to the media.

Randeep Sarai, Liberal MP for Surrey Centre, set up the Monday afternoon meeting. Sarai later issued a press release saying affordable housing, rent assistance, immigration, students and tourism were among topic discussed.

The press release contained this statement from Trudeau: “Today I met with the Downtown Surrey BIA to hear about small business impacts from the rising COVID-19 cases in Surrey and Fraser Health. These are challenging times for everyone which is why we are extending the wage subsidy so employers can keep people on the job, expanding the Canada Emergency Business Account loans to $60,000, and creating the new Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy to support commercial tenants directly. I encourage everyone to follow public health advice to keep each other safe and build back stronger together.”

Elizabeth Model, CEO of DSBIA, told the Now-Leader that the prime minister “was interested what was happening in the downtown core because we will be the largest city in British Columbia,” she said.

“It was two-way conversation. He did definitely provide encouragement.”

But Trudeau made no promises, she said.

“Three things that we really touched on was the landlord retail component, the transit and transportation aspect of connectivity south of the Fraser, the border reopening.

“He said there was a pilot project happening in Alberta,” she said of the latter. “Then they can review the border.”

Sarai in his press release stated that small businesses “are the heart of Surrey Centre and the backbone of the Canadian economy.”

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