rabble blogs are the personal pages of some of Canada's most insightful progressive activists and commentators. All opinions belong to the writer; however, writers are expected to adhere to our guidelines. We welcome new bloggers -- contact us for details.

Bogus concerns about pharmacare's affordability contrived by conservatives to block or delay it

Please chip in to support rabble's election 2019 coverage. Support rabble.ca today for as little as $1 per month!

Photo: Mpelletier1/Wikimedia Commons

Conservative politicians and pundits are questioning the feasibility of adding pharmaceutical coverage to Canada's public health-care system. "How can our governments possibly afford such a huge additional expense?" they ask.

They are asking the wrong question. Here are some of the proper questions to ask:

How have the other economically advanced countries in Europe, as well as Australia and New Zealand, been able to afford comprehensive public health care, including dental, vision, hearing, and other health needs, as well as pharmacare?

How can our federal and provincial governments jointly afford to spend $29 billion a year in subsidies to large corporations, including $3.3 billion annually to the big oil and gas companies?

How can the federal government afford the mega-billions in bailouts it periodically lavishes on SNC-Lavalin and Bombardier, and in the past on the big automobile manufacturers?

How can the federal government afford to spend over $4 billion to purchase an oil pipeline?

Why have our governments, while increasing business subsidies, proportionately reduced their spending on social services? Why does Canada now rank a dismal 24th on the OECD's list of its member countries' social spending at just 17 per cent of GDP, compared to rates ranging from 23 per cent to more than 40 per cent by other countries?

The answers to these crucial unasked questions would expose the right-wingers' cavils about pharmacare's affordability as completely bogus. So would the fact that Canada's per capita GDP -- the country's gross domestic output -- has more than doubled the constant dollar amount it was 50 years ago. There's more money than ever before available, but now it's being far more inequitably distributed.

The alleged shortage of public funding for pharmacare (and other necessary health services) has been callously contrived by continually enhancing the wealth of the rich and powerful at the expense of everyone else.

Ed Finn grew up in Corner Brook, Newfoundland, where he worked as a printer’s apprentice, reporter, columnist, and editor of that city’s daily newspaper, the Western Star. His career as a journalist included 14 years as a labour relations columnist for the Toronto Star. He was part of the world of politics between 1959 and 1962, serving as the first provincial leader of the NDP in Newfoundland. He worked closely with Tommy Douglas for some years and helped defend and promote medicare legislation in Saskatchewan.

Photo: Mpelletier1/Wikimedia Commons

Thank you for reading this story…

More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable.

rabble.ca has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.

So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.

And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.

Comments

We welcome your comments! rabble.ca embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on rabble.ca and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:

Do

  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.

Don't

  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.