Do we need a national pharmacare program?

Polls and pharmacare

If you are in public office, polls are increasingly part of the territory.

Governments themselves increasingly pay for polling data. In 2020 it was revealed the Liberal government tripled its spending on polls.

One of the reasons why governments spend your money on polling is to determine what decisions and policies will be more politically popular with certain voting demographics.

As an example, right before Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called the “pandemic” election last year, polling by Ipsos revealed roughly 80% of Canadians supported the idea of mandatory vaccine mandates. More than 70% supported the idea of vaccine passports.

As we know, Trudeau campaigned heavily on these things during the election, despite previously rejecting the idea of vaccine passports, claiming they would create "divisive impacts on community and country."

Another poll, this one from Angus Reid and reported by the Financial Post, also caught my attention. It showed 86% of Canadians support a national pharmacare program. This of course was one of the announced objectives in the recent deal made between the Liberals and the NDP in Ottawa.

A recent Leger poll, however, asked the question differently. If a national pharmacare program came with a hike in the GST to pay for it, support drops down to just 40%, (according to the Leger poll).

The purpose of my column this week is not actually about polling, despite the increasing use being a topic of interest. It is actually about the promise of a national pharmacare program, as promised by the Liberal/NDP agreement.

Although pharmacare is a provincially funded and delivered program, I seldom hear complaints from (constituents) about the lack of availability of drugs or coverage from those in need. That is likely because B.C. already has its income-based, fully functional Fair Pharmacare program that works well and B.C. (taxpayers) are already paying for it.

That was a point raised by Premier John Horgan, who on behalf of all provincial premiers, has publicly pointed out federal transfers for health care are the priority to deal with surgical backlogs over new federal program spending, such as pharmacare.

This is consistent with what I hear from constituents with increasing alarm. The long surgery waitlists and lack of family doctors are pushing our provincial health care system to its limits.

My question this week:

Where do you see a greater need—more doctors or a national pharmacare program?

I can be reached at [email protected] or call toll free 1-800-665-8711.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

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About the Author

Dan Albas, Conservative member of Parliament for the riding of Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola, is the official Oppositions's finance critic.

Before entering public life, Dan was the owner of Kick City Martial Arts, responsible for training hundreds of men, women and youth to bring out their best.

Dan  is consistently recognized as one of Canada’s top 10 most active Members of Parliament on Twitter (@danalbas) and also continues to write a weekly column published in many local newspapers and on this website.

Dan welcomes comments, questions and concerns from citizens and is often available to speak to groups and organizations on matters of federal concern. 

He can be reached at [email protected] or call toll free at 1-800-665-8711.

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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