Official Liberal Party of Newfoundland and Labrador Response

Canadian Cancer Survivor Network Questionnaire 2019

If elected, will your government support the implementation of a national pharmacare program that guarantees access to prescription medicines and a plan that goes beyond a formulary that meets the lowest common denominator?

Your Liberal Government has long been a proponent of a national pharmacare program.  These words come directly from the Throne Speech delivered by Lieutenant Governor, the Honourable Judy Foote, on April 4th of this year. 

“Our Government is encouraged by work underway on a national pharmacare program. If done correctly, such a program has the potential to improve access to medicine that residents use to treat illness and restore their health, particularly newly-developed and expensive therapies for illnesses such as certain cancers. We look forward to working further with our federal partners to determine whether, and how, such a national program could benefit our residents, along with all Canadians”.

If elected to government, will you commit to ensuring that women are notified about their breast density as part of their mammogram reports?

The impact of breast density on detection of breast cancer is an emerging research area. We all need greater clarity on the best course of action and would be interested in speaking with you further about this. We understand Breast Screen Australia and the UK’s National Health Service have not recommended routinely providing women with information about breast density and do not recommend supplemental screening.  The US Preventative Service Task Force concluded there is insufficient evidence for adjunctive screening in women with dense breasts.  Some jurisdictions have moved forward with adjustments to screening relating to breast density, but the approach has been inconsistent.  In light of this emerging issue, we are ensuring the Department of Health and Community Services and Eastern Health engage clinical experts to review evidence relating to breast density notification and screening, and provide recommendations for the provincial cancer program. We very much welcome your input on this.

If elected to government, will you support a campaign to raise public awareness and improve education on breast density?

We are committed to working across all provincial jurisdictions to develop a national approach on this issue.  If a public campaign proves to be warranted your provincial liberal government would be at the forefront of providing such awareness programs.

If elected, what steps will your party take to address perimeter bans on second-hand smoke around buildings?

Your Liberal Government does have a policy in place that addresses a smoking perimeter ban at the entrance to public buildings.  Smoking within 30 feet of the entrance to the Confederation Building and the Motor Vehicle Building in Mount Pearl, for example, is prohibited and government has included all health authorities, the English School District, Memorial University campuses and College of the North Atlantic.  Over 90 municipalities have put in smoking restrictions associated with the entrance and exits of buildings.  Expanding the perimeter ban will require a review of our current ability to enforce the ban and provide proper oversight.  As you are aware there are many issues related to smoking from a prevention, protection and cessation perspective.  The issue of perimeter bans is being considered within the broader government initiative as a means of reducing smoking in our province by a further 4% by 2025.

If elected, what steps will your party take to address drifting smoke in multi-unit buildings?

It should be noted that under the Smoke Free Environment Act the question of residential buildings is addressed in section 4 which indicates that smoking in defined common areas is prohibited.

4. (1) a person shall not smoke in

(q)  A common area of a hotel, motel, commercial building or multi-unit residential building, including a corridor, lobby, stairwell, elevator, escalator, eating area, washroom or restroom;

Landlords also have the right to limit or eliminate smoking in their units if they want to add such a clause in their leasing documents. 

Your Liberal Government is amenable to looking at this issue, including the legal questions on offer which include the rights of a renter.  Certainly a collaborative evidence based approach is vital if we are to reduce smoking and address the intrusion of second hand smoke as part of a reduction strategy. For each of our government decisions, whether for new legislation, policies or spending, the focus must be on the full impacts and we have to avoid unintended consequences where possible. Having input from groups such as the Cancer Survivor Network is critical to our decision-making process and we appreciate the opinions being expressed.