NDP members push to pressure feds on pharmacare plan on first day of convention in Hamilton
HAMILTON, ONT. -- On day one of the NDP’s three-day policy convention in Hamilton, Ont. there was discussion among party members to put pressure on the federal government to follow through on its commitment to move ahead with a national pharmacare plan.
With the deadline for the federal government to pass pharmacare legislation set for the end of the year, a policy calling for the federal government to reestablish and maintain a Crown Corporation to manufacture vaccines, pharmaceuticals and medical devices in Canada is on the convention agenda.
A key part of the NDP’s supply-and-confidence agreement propping up the Liberal minority government requires, “passing a Canada pharmacare act by the end of 2023.”
“I've said it publicly, and I'll say it again, it's a red line for us. We have to have public pharmacare,” said NDP MP and health critic Don Davies, who says they’re specifically calling for “single-payer pharmacare.”
“We want all pharmaceuticals to be delivered to our public medical system, because it's the cheapest, fairest and most efficient way to do it.”
Some delegates told CTV News they would support a move to end the confidence-and-suply agreement if the Liberal government doesn’t follow through on its promise. Davies said he doesn’t believe they’re at that point yet, but other members agree.
“As long as our negotiators report that they are meeting the parameters in the spirit of our deal, the deal remains,” said NDP MP for Hamilton-Centre Matthew Green.
He believes further negotiations on the bill could be enough, and thinks the NDP has the upper hand.
“We absolutely have leverage because we're the ones who crafted the deal. We have the people who are, you know, some of the most knowledgeable people on the file that have been fighting for this.”
Specific resolutions on pharmacare are on Sunday’s agenda to be discussed as part of a larger health-care policy block.
ISRAEL-HAMAS WAR TO BE DISCUSSED DURING EMERGENCY RESOLUTIONS SATURDAY
Heading into the NDP policy convention, there was much discussion about whether the war between Israel and Hamas would be addressed and how much it could drive conversation around policy.
Emergency resolutions were initially scheduled to be discussed Friday afternoon, but had to be pushed to Saturday due to the volume of proposed resolutions on the situation in the middle east, said Jennifer Howard, chief of staff to NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh’s.
The party has now confirmed resolutions on the Israel-Hamas war will be part of emergency resolutions discussed Saturday.
“I think we're probably going to have a lot of really difficult conversations,” said Edmonton NDP MP and foreign affairs critic Heather McPherson.
“I certainly hope New Democrats recognize the humanity of the situation and recognize how terrible it is to have civilians be targeted, to have this violence happening, and to make sure that as one voice we’re standing up for Palestinians and Israelis.
McPherson said the party should condemn the “horrific terrorist actions of Hamas”, but also said they have an obligation to make sure that the Israeli government is not “perpetrating war crimes and hurting civilians in Gaza.”
“We have an obligation to call out those things as well,” she said.
One emergency resolution set to be discussed Saturday calls on Canada to take a number of actions including; demand a ceasefire and life-saving humanitarian assistance for Gaza, advocate for the release of hostages, and condemn acts of antisemitism and anti-Palestinian hate.
A number of other emergency resolutions tackling various contentious issues will also be discussed Saturday.