Madam Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for his kind words, his speech, and his leadership on the committee. It will come as not surprise to him that I may disagree respectfully with some of his points.
First of all, we have had 20 meetings of witness testimony for our study over the better part of a year and a half, and we have two more meetings to go. We are not halfway through the study, but at the 20th meeting of 22 meetings in the study. We have what can only be described as crystal clear conclusions. We know, and I do not think the government can deny it, that there are millions of Canadians who have no pharmaceutical coverage whatsoever and that their health is deteriorating as a result.
Second, we know that a universal pharmacare system would save billions of dollars. We know this from the report by the PBO and from every other report by academic researchers referred to at committee, which have shown that we would save billions of dollars. We wanted to confirm those other reports by an objective, independent study by the parliamentary budget officer. He tabled that report last week. His conclusions, using conservative assumptions, leaving out cost-saving measures, and using the broadest formulary in the country, Quebec's, were that we would save $4.2 billion.
I do not hear anyone on the government side denying any of that. However, what I hear them saying is that we do not have the details. That is what the motion calls for, for the federal government to sit down with the provinces over the next year to work out those details.
I must say that it was complex to bring in universal health care in this country. We did it in the 1960s. What differences does the member see between that and the federal government's working with the provinces to extend universal coverage to pharmaceuticals? Why is that unconstitutional or complex, when we have already done it with health care generally in this country?