Urgent: Canada’s Pharmacare in jeopardy without new laws

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh meets with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

“Time is slipping away for the federal government to take action on a crucial piece of legislation under the Liberal-NDP agreement. Signed in March 2022, this deal aims to keep the government in power until 2025, with one of the main priorities being the passing of a Canada Pharmacare Act by the end of 2023.

Health Minister Mark Holland believes it’s possible to introduce the legislation within the tight timeline, but questions whether it can progress through all stages. The urgency arises from the current mix of public and private plans that Canadians rely on for prescription drugs, leading to a confusing patchwork of coverage.

However, the NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh is pushing back against the Liberals’ draft of the bill, highlighting the need for pharmacare to be affordable for all Canadians. As negotiations continue, concerns from Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre also surface regarding the potential impact of a national pharmacare program on taxes and coverage for Canadians.

Amid these debates and negotiations, the looming deadline raises the crucial question of whether the government can deliver on its promise. The need for thorough negotiations to ensure the best arrangement for pharmacare is emphasized, as hasty decisions may lead to difficulties in future adjustments.

This urgency coincides with challenges for the Liberals in the polls, with the Conservatives leading in voter support. As the Conservative lead grows, it’s evident that voter sentiment is shifting across party lines, posing a significant challenge for the current government.

The prospect of an unfulfilled promise combined with declining voter support paints a complex picture of political pressures and the need to deliver on key policy commitments. As the clock ticks on the government’s ability to pass the Canada Pharmacare Act, the stakes – both for the policy and for the political landscape – continue to rise.”



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