Thank you for the opportunity to share my voice and the Green Party’s platform.
A. Recognize that there is a need for a new process that recognizes that some patients, including cancer patients, experience extended periods of treatment and recovery, and hold open consultations with Canadians about how this process will be developed and implemented?
B. Use the results of these consultations to lengthen sickness benefits for Canadians undergoing treatment for cancer, as well as other serious illnesses that require long periods of treatment or recovery, so that Canadians who are ill are not penalized by the current limit of 15 weeks of sickness benefits?
C. Cancel the two-week waiting period for EI Sickness Benefits so that sick Canadians are not penalized?
A. What is your party’s position on the creation of, and timeline for, a universal public pharmacare program with a national formulary that would be developed by an independent group of experts that would assess the safety and cost-effectiveness of medication?
Yes – the Green Party supports pharmacare and will begin a $26.8 billion investment in 2020-2021. On a personal note, pharamacare is a specific platform item for me. I have an autoimmune condition (lupus) and am on prescription medications for the rest of my life – I am well aware of how prohibitively expensive medications are.
B. Will your party support a new federal equalization payment for national pharmacare so that all provinces are able to cover the same comprehensive range of prescription drugs with timely new additions on a regular basis?
Yes. This will be part of our Pharmacare program. It will also create a bulk drug purchasing agency and reduce drug patent protection periods to ensure all provinces are able to access low-cost prescription drugs for their patients. More broadly, will also restore the federal/provincial Health Accord, basing health transfers on demographics and real health care needs in each province, replacing the current formula based on GDP growth.
A. Take immediate actions to address a significant and troubling increase in youth vaping and smoking in Canada?
Yes. Although I was unable to track down the study, staff of youth organizations in the riding informed me that youth vaping in the Kootenay region is one of the highest rates in the province. This is a particularly concerning issue in the South Okanagan-West Kootenay riding.
B. Use the results of the recent public consultations on new vaping regulations to strengthen controls over packaging, promotions and nicotine content?
C. Move to accelerate the process of banning all flavoured vaping products in an attempt to lessen their appeal to a youth market?
Yes. The Green Party believes in evidence-based policy and following the precautionary principle. As we are only just beginning to discover the long term health effects of vaping, a Green government would bring in new legislative and regulatory tools to prevent marketing to young people and protect them from the known and unknown negative health effects of vaping.
A. Ensure that the Task Force’s guidelines are revised by relevant experts in the field?
Yes. I have done significant work in the field of women’s issues and am presently pursuing a Master’s with a focus on equality. Although not specific to health issues, I would be questioning who is on this Task Force and the experts involved to ensure adequate representation (including but not limited to Indigenous and trans health needs, poverty, and other considerations).
B. Disband the Task Force if its design flaws and lack of accountability can’t be remedied under the current structure?
C. Reject the 2018 guidelines and, if needed, create a new Task Force which accurately incorporates relevant expert opinion?