More doctors or free pharmacare?

Dan Albas MP

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 that the Trudeau Liberal Government had 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 PM Trudeau called the “pandemic election” last year, polling by Ipsos revealed that roughly 80 per cent of Canadians supported the idea of mandatory vaccine mandates.

Over 70 per cent supported the idea of vaccine passports.

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

Another poll, this one from Angus Reid as reported by the Financial Post, also caught my attention.

The poll showed that 86 per cent of Canadians support a national pharmacare program.

This of course is one of the announced objectives between the recent backroom deal made between the Liberals and the NDP in Ottawa.

However, a recent Leger poll asked this question differently.

If a national pharmacare program came with a hike in the GST to pay for it, the support dropped down to just 40 per cent.

The purpose of my report this week is not actually about polling despite the increasing use being a topic of interest.

My report is actually about the promise of a national pharmacare as promised by the Liberal/NDP agreement.

Although pharmacare is a provincially funded and delivered program, I seldom hear complaints from citizens on the lack of availability of drugs or coverage from those in need.

Likely this is because B.C. already has an income based fully functional “Fair Pharmacare” program that works well that citizens in B.C. are already paying for.

This is a point raised by Premier John Horgan, who on behalf of all provincial premiers, has publicly pointed out that 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 Dan.Albas@parl.gc.ca or call toll free 800 665 8711.

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