Liberals rhetorically support NDP pharmacare bill, then vote against it

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jerrym
Liberals rhetorically support NDP pharmacare bill, then vote against it

I decided to even quote the title of the following article because I couldn't think of a better one for a party that has been promising pharmacare since 1993 and doing nothing to implement it. They couldn't even vote for the aspiration to create a pharmacare program. 

 

On Wednesday afternoon, the House of Commons voted down a New Democratic motion to take a first step toward national pharmacare. The vote went 32 for the measure to 295 against. All 24 New Democrats and all three Greens voted for the motion. Two Liberals supported the bill, Nathan Erskine-Smith, who represents the Toronto riding for which Jack Layton was once the MP, and Wayne Long, a New Brunswick MP. One Conservative also voted for the bill, Ben Lobb from central Ontario, as did two independents: Jody Wilson-Raybould, the onetime Liberal justice minister who got embroiled in the SNC-Lavalin affair, and Brampton MP Ramesh Sangha, who was booted out of the Liberal caucus in January after he accused fellow Liberals of supporting the Sikh separatist movement.

Peter Julian, the NDP's finance critic, presented the bill, which would have established the conditions for federal financial contributions to provincial drug insurance plans. Those plans would, in turn, guarantee all Canadians access to life-saving medications.

The bill did not have specific dollar amounts in it. It was merely a statement of principles to guide the federal government in consultations with the provinces -- if and when such talks occur. The purpose of the bill was to advance a process to which the Trudeau government claims it is fully committed, namely, to expand Canada's public and universal health-care system so that it includes prescription drugs. There was no timeline in the measure. The bill would not bind the government in any way. Had it passed Julian's bill would have been, in essence, a statement of the Canadian Parliament's aspiration for universal drug coverage, nothing more than that. And yet the governing Liberals voted against it, with two lonely exceptions. Oh, there was a third, sort of. New Brunswick Liberal MP and former health minister Ginette Petitpas-Taylor abstained. ...

Rather than replace private drug plans with a public one, Rempel Garner suggested "it would be better to focus on targeting support to those who do not have it, rather than entirely scrapping a system that works for a majority of others." To that, the Conservative MP added the fear factor. She asserted that public coverage might not be as extensive as private: "We do not know the level of coverage this proposal would provide and whether it would be a lower standard than what many Canadians already have in their current plans." ...

The Bloc Québécois' Gabriel Ste-Marie pointed out that Quebec currently has its own prescription drug plan, while admitting that the plan is underfunded, and offers inadequate coverage. He said Quebecers favour a universal plan, but insisted such a plan must be Quebec's own, not a plan subject to federally determined principles. ...

The positions the Bloc and the Conservatives took were entirely predictable. Their reasons for voting against the NDP motion were crystal clear. That was not so for the party in power, the Liberal Party. Listening to Liberal MP Judy Sgro speak to Julian's motion, one could be excused for believing she planned to vote in favour of rather than against it. The veteran Ontario Liberal MP and former cabinet minister opened her remarks by discussing how the current pandemic has increased the sense of urgency Canadians feel about access to life-saving medicine. "COVID-19," Sgro said, "has reminded us how important it is that Canadians have access to the medicines that keep them healthy. ...

After saying all that Sgro voted against the NDP motion. ...

Peter Julian and his fellow New Democrats will keep talking about this issue during the current crisis and during the next election campaign, whenever that comes. For NDPers, the Canadian health-care system, with all of its imperfections, is one of their party's crowning achievements. It was Tommy Douglas' NDP government in Saskatchewan that got it started more than 60 years ago, and it was the Tommy-Douglas-led NDP that pushed it at the federal level during a series of minority parliaments in the 1960s.

Now the NDP seeks to play the same role with pharmacare.

https://rabble.ca/news/2021/02/liberals-rhetorically-support-ndp-pharmac...