Despite promising to implement pharmacare since 1997, the federal Liberals have once again nixed a plan to do just that.
Bill C-213, a bill from NDP MP Peter Julian to establish a framework for negotiating a national, universal, single-payer prescription drug plan with the provinces, was up for a vote in the House of Commons on Wednesday.
Despite making pharmacare a signature election promise in 2019, only two of the Liberal Party’s 154 MPs voted for the bill. The rest teamed up with the Conservative Party to kill the bill, and with it, the hopes of millions of Canadians who struggle to pay for vital prescriptions every month, and who hoped for once the Liberals might come through on a common-sense policy they themselves campaigned on.
One in five Canadians can’t afford the medication prescribed by their doctors, a situation only worsened by the pandemic, and recent polls show nine in 10 Canadians support a national pharmacare program.
Instead of adopting a sensible program with overwhelming support that would help millions avoid or escape sickness and poverty, it appears the Liberals have caved to the interests of the pharma lobby once again.
Whether it’s electoral reform, child care, reconciliation with Indigenous peoples, climate action, or in this case, pharmacare, it’s clear there’s no greater enemy to Liberal promises than the Liberals themselves.