1) Liberal and Conservative governments, together, have raided the EI fund of a staggering $57 billion. New Democrats have fought tooth-and-nail against these measures designed to keep Canadians from accessing their income security benefits when they need them the most and, as government, we will be reviewing the current inadequacies of the EI system in supporting Canadians trying to keep a foothold in the workforce.
New Democrats recognize the need to increase the flexibility of federal supports for persons living with chronic conditions to better accommodate their varying levels of engagement in the workforce. A New Democratic government will seek to increase their work options.
2) The CPP Disability Benefit is among the income support measures receiving the greatest public criticism. Changes introduced in the mid-90s resulted in increasing numbers of applicants being turned away and appear to undermine the benefit’s other advantages. A New Democratic government has committed to calling a First Ministers meeting within six months of being elected to examine the adequacy of the CPP/QPP and to negotiate improvements with provincial and territorial governments.
3) New Democrats have long advocated for a national collaborative effort to cover the costs of prescription medicines in order to reel in the fastest growing cost factor in 21st century health care delivery. Every country with a universal health plan has a national drug plan of some sort – except for Canada.
As first steps, a New Democratic government will ensure that the affordability of prescription medicines is on the table in our discussions with provinces and territories as we push for a new national health accord. Such an inter-governmental collaboration is long overdue and provides the federal government an opportunity to build on the progress provinces and territories have made. Cooperative bulk purchasing and common formulary, for instance, are already advancing but could improve dramatically with active federal involvement. Lifting these important elements out of provincial silos to a pan-Canadian level will assure equitable treatment and access to scientifically approved drugs for all Canadians.
4) New Democrats are strongly committed to rejuvenating the relationship between the federal government, provinces and territories overall and in the health portfolio, in particular.
An NDP government will reverse Harper’s unilateral cuts and get back to working collaboratively with provinces and territories. Respecting provincial roles, we will lead strategies to improve public health care and make it more sustainable over the long term. To this end, we will move quickly to initiate a federal/provincial-territorial process to put a new health accord in place.
Nanaimo-Ladysmith Federal NDP Candidate