Mr. Speaker, I am delighted to present a petition that was developed by SEIU Local 1 and circulated by SEIU retirees. They gathered hundreds of signatures in support of the urgent need for a national pharmacare program in our country.
The petitioners point out that our goal ought to be to have a national drug plan that would enable all Canadians to enjoy equitable access to medicines while at the same time controlling the rising cost of drugs.
They are keenly aware of a report released by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives which concluded that the existing patchwork of private and public plans in Canada is inequitable, inefficient and costly. The report found that Canada is the third most expensive country for brand name drugs because it deliberately inflates drug prices in order to attract pharmaceutical investment.
Instead of tackling the issue head-on, the government is talking about privatization and user fees. Those are hardly the answers for an aging population that is already finding it difficult to make ends meet and whose retirement savings are again put at risk by another economic downturn.
The request by the petitioners is as straightforward as it is urgent. They simply want the government to acknowledge that there is a sound economic case to be made for universal public medicare--