I hope this email newsletter finds you and your family staying well as we forge ahead during these unique times.
As businesses begin to reopen in phases, we must continue to be smart and ensure that we continue to maintain physical distance as best we can.
A key focus for my team and I in the past couple of weeks has been reopening our volunteer income tax program by drop off, and representing you in Ottawa during the limited sittings we have. (Please see my note below about getting Parliament reopened to our usual work, in a safe manner).
We continue to remain available to assist and direct you on any problems you may have. While we are still closed to walk-in traffic, we are available at 1-888-805-2513.
We are here to help, and we are here to support our residents and our economy safely reopen and get to ‘more normal’ times as best as possible.
Keep in touch and stay well,
Get Parliament Back Open Properly!
I'm asking for your help to restore full Parliament so I can properly- and safely- do the job you elected me to do. Please sign this e-petition to tell the government you want Parliament to reopen with all of its regular functions, in a modified setting to ensure safe numbers in the Chamber.
I hope you will agree with me that during this time of record unemployment, large amounts of government expenditure, and as we continue to combat COVID-19, we need all voices in the House of Commons to ask questions and to scrutinize billions in new spending.
We recently learned that we will only have four hours to debate and question billions of dollars in new spending. That is not right.
Please take a moment to sign so I can get back to Ottawa and be your voice the way you elected me to do!
Income Tax Clinic Reopens with Drop-off Appointments
We have good news to help lower-and-modest income residents with their 2019 income tax filing!
My staff and volunteers have safely reopened the volunteer income tax clinic.
✅ There is no walk in and processing service any longer
✅ Tax preparation service will only be provided through a scheduled appointment system to drop off paperwork to complete your return
✅ Your completed return will then be mailed back to you
This plan meets the guidelines and safety regulations laid out by the Eastern Ontario Health Unit to ensure social distancing and appropriate safety measures are in place.
We ask for your cooperation by reading the details and eligibility here in its entirely and follow the guidelines to keep the process safe.
It is important to note that we have successfully lobbied the government to ensure that while the government kept the tax deadline for Monday, June 1st, no one will be cut off their important benefits like Guaranteed Income Supplement, Child Tax Benefit, and GST/HST payments until October if they have not filed their taxes.
Please only come to my office if you have a scheduled drop off appointment for your income taxes. The regular constituency office services are not open to walk-in traffic, so simply call the office and my staff will assist.
Statement on Community Support During COVID-19
I'm proud of how Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry has supported each other during these challenging times. I had the chance to outline my gratitude and appreciation in the House of Commons with my colleagues.
Question Period Exchange on Family Reunification
I had the chance for a 5-minute back and forth during Question Period recently to discuss the lack of family reunification measures being taken for blended Canadian-American families, including many who live in Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry.
I am pleased that the government took my proposal and announced changes. Once again, delivering results in Parliament for local families!
Town Hall on Rural Internet and Cell Coverage
We will be holding a virtual Town Hall meeting this coming Wednesday evening at 7:30pm. This week's topic will be focus on rural internet access and cell phone coverage. This issue has been highlighted over the past few months due to our collective need to access the internet for schooling and work in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
We will be joined by special guest, the Hon. Michelle Rempel Garner, Shadow Minister of Industry and Economic Development and MP Jeremy Patzer, who worked for years directly in the telecommunications sector.
Wednesday, Mar. 11th - Today, Members of the Conservative Ontario Caucus sent a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau regarding the rising water levels and the expected major flooding along the shorelines across Ontario. The water levels across all the Great Lakes remain near or above record levels.
Local Member of Parliament Eric Duncan (Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry) questioned the Prime Minister directly in Question Period about the government’s plans to mitigate the impacts to residents and asked for the government’s cooperation to investigate measures to help residents and businesses in the longer term.
“My constituents here locally often face the opposite challenge of low water levels between the Iroquois and Moses Saunders Dam in Cornwall, but it is equally harmful to shorelines, property values, tourism and our environment,” said Duncan.
“The one thing that is very clear to me as a new Member is that there is no coordinated response with all the federal departments that are impacted, let alone with provincial and municipal contacts. This is a real, tangible way we can get answers to help address this issue and take real steps. I am committed to not just complaining about the situation, but finding ways, to lessen the impacts for tens of thousands of residents and businesses in Ontario and Quebec,” added MP Duncan.
Last year, several communities in Ontario had to declare states of emergency as a result of severe flooding to activate
resources from the provincial and federal governments.
“We believe it is essential for the federal government to have a fully detailed plan to prepare for what is becoming a likely
risk of flooding this spring,” said Philip Lawrence, Member of Parliament for Northumberland-Peterborough South.
“Time is of the essence for the government to have measures in place to prepare for and to mitigate the inevitable flooding that is facing many communities across our province.”
Friday, Mar. 13th – Following the declaration of the World Health Organization declaring the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) as a global pandemic and decisions made by various levels of Government, Member of Parliament Eric Duncan provided the following updates to the local community:
• The Community Volunteer Income Tax Program will be suspending operations until further notice, effective 3:30pm on March 13, 2020. This move is made with the interests of the health of the community and the volunteer tax-preparers in mind.
• MP Duncan’s main constituency office in Cornwall and Monday satellite offices in Morrisburg and Winchester will be closed to walk-in traffic until further notice. The staff will remain available during regular hours (Monday-Friday from 8:30am-4:30pm) to answer phones and assist with case files. The toll-free number is 1-888-805-2513.
• MP Duncan will limit his public events in the coming weeks as a means of social distancing. He will continue to work full time by phone and videoconferencing. • The Eastern Ontario Health Unit will be the lead with respect to testing of suspected cases of COVID-19. Please follow the Eastern Ontario Health Unit on Facebook for updates directly.
These are precautionary measures to avoid the possible spread of COVID-19 while communities across the country are seeing increased rates of infection and other large national organizations are taking significant steps to promote social distancing and flatten the curve of this virus.
“This is certainly a unique and evolving situation, but I encourage Canadians to be cautious but not fearful. Our country has faced big challenges before, and we will get through this by looking out for each other and being proactive in limiting our chance of infection,” said MP Duncan. “The earlier we take these measures, the better off we will be in getting back to our normal routines and daily lives. Be safe and be calm, and keep updated as the situation continues to evolve.”
For all information pertaining to Covid-19, visit the federal government’s special website at www.canada.ca/coronavirus.