Gamechangers

Imagining a government that works for Canadians

Trudeau’s pharma-to-fail plan should be final straw to progressive voters

Liberal leader Justin Trudeau announced his pharmacare plan today. Only a fool would believe his plan isn’t dead on arrival — and wasn’t developed with exactly that goal in mind.

It’s a Liberal ploy of the sort we see every four years. A promise that makes it sound like you can vote Liberal and get the NDP. Unfortunately, if you vote Liberal, you get Trudeau. Again.

Former Liberal Health Minister Philpott pans Liberal plan

The 2015 electoral reform ploy was horrible. This ploy is Trudeau at his worst – and that’s very bad.

Trudeau protected the padded profits of Big Pharma and insurance with four years of stalling at the expense of the uninsured and sick. Now he’s tabled a plan designed to fail, with a built-in political strategy to heap the blame of failure on Conservative Premiers.

When padding profits and political blame-gaming are higher priorities than people’s health, it’s time to leave politics.

And since he won’t leave, he needs to be voted out. Trudeau has long ago become a mockery of a leader. In public he’s a manipulator, a phony, a merchant of identities, a bad actor with pretty words.

In private, he gets done what the corporate lobbyists ask of him. He’s even willing to break the law to please them.

Trudeau’s pharmacare proposal offered $6 billion over four years – an average $1.5 billion per year — to develop a pharmacare plan with provinces. That fact alone confirms his plan is designed to fail.

The PBO reported that, in 2015, $25 billion was spent on medicines that would be covered by pharmacare. Currently, about $13 billion is spent from from federal and provincial public insurance plans. Another $11 billion from private plans. And $5 billion is paid for out-of-pocket by individual Canadians.

In a universal pharmacare plan, Canadian households would save that $5 billion in a year in out-of-pocket medical costs. And businesses wouldn’t need to pay premiums on $13 billion of insured drug costs. NDP leader Jagmeet Singh has said the average savings for businesses would be about $600 per employee.

And, according to the PBO, a single system would be 20 per cent more efficient and affordable — reducing costs from $25 billion to $20 billion.

With $13 billion in public money already in the system, that leaves a $7 billion gap between what’s currently being paid by public plans and the cost of a universal public plan. Trudeau’s $1.5 billion a year announcement comes nowhere close to bridging it.

That’s why it’s a promise to fail. It is flat-out impossible for Trudeau to be serious about pharmacare if he’s going to rely on the likes of Ontario Premier Doug Ford and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney to pay for his pharmacare promise. It’s not going to happen. And he knows it.

But when Conservatives won’t pony-up, they’ll be the ones blamed. And the game will play another political round. Another round of a games with people’s lives.

Based on population, Ford would need to give Trudeau an extra $2 billion a year to make his promise a reality – that’s more from one province than Trudeau’s put up for a whole country.

And Trudeau’s move is all the more galling because, just the day before, he was splashing cash around, announcing a $6 billion a year tax cut. Last fall he gave away $14 billion in new corporate tax breaks. Billions and billions for tax cuts – and $1.5 billion for health care.

That $6 billion tax cut is Trudeau’s big-brag affordability play. But Singh’s pharmacare plan would save individuals and businesses $18 billion a year — $5 billion for households and $13 billion from business payroll costs.

Singh’s plan includes $10 billion in new annual funding – raised from his super-tax on fortunes of more than $20 million. And unlike Trudeau’s mockery, it gives Conservative Premiers no money veto over pharmacare.

Day after day in this campaign, Justin Trudeau is showing us why he is unfit to be a Prime Minister. It’s not just that he lacks the moral leadership to do anything great.

For four years he’s been working for the rich and powerful. Now he throws out this ploy in an attempt to make fools out of us – by giving him four more years to stall on pharmacare.