March 25th, 2022
NDP Liberal Cooperation
Dental Care. Pharmacare. Affordable housing. Better seniors care. Climate action. These are the top concerns of people on almost every doorstep I’ve ever been on. This past Wednesday, NDP Members of Parliament used their power to deliver the biggest expansion of health care in a generation.
A new national dental care plan will provide coverage to millions of lower income Canadians, who will now be able to afford to go to a dentist, giving them the preventative care they need to stay out of hospital emergency rooms, and allowing all young people to grow up with healthy teeth, avoiding the visible stigma of unsightly teeth that is a strong barrier to getting a decent job.
By 2023 Canada will have a national Pharmacare Act and within three years we will have the single buyer power of a national pharmacare program that will save our country at least $4 billion every single year. We could pay for four dental care programs with those savings alone.
In this agreement, we’ve held the Liberals to account to make significant investments towards truly affordable housing and have won meaningful action to tackle climate change, including accelerated measures for emission reductions, just transition legislation, and real action--at last—to phase out subsidies to the fossil fuel sector. This is exactly what we promised at election time.
But let’s be clear: this deal and all the benefits for Canadians that flow from it would not have happened unless New Democrats pushed the government to act. In the past year, the Liberals and Conservatives have both voted down the NDP bills that would have created a dental plan and pharmacare, the very bills the government will now be bringing in.
The confidence and supply agreement between the federal NDP and Liberals has many more wins that will make a real difference for all Canadians. I have always been very clear that I entered into politics to work across partisan lines and deliver good policy that helps those that need it most. This is what this agreement is about.
This agreement does not create a coalition government and it certainly does not mean that I won’t do my job as an opposition MP. I and my NDP colleagues will continue to hold this government to account on its promises. This agreement only promises support at specific times for matters of confidence and supply (budgets). We will provide reasoned input to those budgets and continue to vigorously critique all other government motions and legislation. And if at any time we decide the Liberals are falling short on their side of this deal, we will not hesitate in pulling our support.
Canadians don’t want another unnecessary election that would only create a parliament very similar to the one it replaced. By working across party lines, we have achieved our singular goal that everything we do must help ordinary Canadians.
In the last few weeks, Canadians have heard a lot about the divisions in our country. This is the time for politicians to work together and put the needs of Canadians ahead of partisan politics. This is exactly what this agreement does.
I close with the sad news that my long-time constituency assistant in Penticton, Andrina Calvert, passed away last Friday after a long battle with leukaemia. Andrina was a remarkable person with an amazing ability to connect with those who reached out to my office to get help. We will all miss her terribly.
MP, South Okanagan - West Kootenay