House of Commons Hansard #213 of the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was drug.


Opposition Motion—PharmacareBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.


Daniel Blaikie NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Madam Speaker, I acknowledge the member's point that discussion of a formulary is an important discussion to have, but there are great precedents for working toward a common formulary. The common drug review that we had in this country for years served as an expert base. It was a federally run organization that provinces largely deferred to in the composition of their formularies. It was not binding, but it was a structure that was already in place, although some damage was done to that structure in the previous government.

It is a legitimate conversation that has to be had, but there are models for how to come to agreement. The provinces and the federal government did that largely with the CDR process before, and it is something that needs to be done. That is why the motion allows for a year. That time allows all of those people who ought to be at the table to be brought into the discussion. We would not want to make the perfect the enemy of the good.

Opposition Motion—PharmacareBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.


Tracey Ramsey NDP Essex, ON

Madam Speaker, I am proud to rise today in support of this NDP motion that calls upon the government to have a meeting to start the conversation about implementing a universal pharmacare program. This is something that New Democrats have been fighting for since Tommy Douglas introduced and implemented public medicare in our country.

New Democrats refer to the amazing vision that Tommy Douglas had. His vision of a social system that is accessible to us all still guides us today. It is a fundamental belief that we are all in this world together, and that the only test of our character that matters is how we look after the least fortunate among us—how we look after each other, not how we look after ourselves—and that no matter what, people should get whatever health services they require, irrespective of their individual ability to pay.

Tommy Douglas never intended to create such a gap in Canadian health care coverage. Prescription drugs and other services were always meant to be integrated into a system of comprehensive public coverage along with hospitals and physician services.

Canada is the only developed country in the world with a universal health care program that does not include a universal prescription drug plan. This means that our multi-payer system has resulted in the second-highest prescription drug costs in the world, second only to the United States. Our patchwork prescription drug system is inefficient and expensive. It has left Canadians with wildly varying prescription drug coverage and access. Many people are paying different rates for the same medications.

Currently people are not benefiting from our system, but do we know who is? It is the pharmaceutical and private insurance companies, the same ones that make billions of dollars in profit every year. Did members know that in 2016 Merck Canada made a $35.2 billion profit, while Bristol-Myers Squibb earned $19.2 billion? What about the fact that in 2016 Purdue Pharma reaped profits of $31 billion? Purdue sells oxycontin and other products prescribed for the treatment of pain, and Purdue has been found to have misled doctors about the safety and effectiveness of oxycontin. As we all know too well, Canada is facing a public health crisis in which at least 2,400 Canadians died as a result of opioid overdose in 2016.

What about the top private insurance companies? Do members know that the top three companies in Canada collectively raked in net profits of over $8 billion in 2016?

Pharmaceutical companies can charge higher prices for drugs because they sell to so many buyers. Private insurance companies benefit by charging employers, unions, and employees to administer these private drug insurance plans.

Why is it acceptable that in Canada a corporation can have profits of $35 billion, but seniors living in my riding cannot afford to both heat their homes and buy their medications?

Seniors represent one of the fastest-growing populations in Canada today. The number of seniors in Canada is projected to reach 9.8 million in 2036, and many more seniors will be retiring in the years to come. Therefore, we need to have a social safety net in place to avoid dramatic increases in the rate of poverty. A universal pharmacare program would significantly help our seniors and would cost our health care system less.

I want to specifically speak today about what I see in my constituency office. I have people who come into my office who are desperate for help. Many seniors, but certainly people of all ages, tell my staff that they cannot afford their medications. Couples will often split one prescription between them, or they will skip taking their medicine so that they can afford a new pair of glasses to allow them to see properly.

A woman who was on ODSP, the Ontario disability support program, came in last week. She cannot work because she has very serious mental health issues. She needs her medication to function. However, not all of her medications are covered by ODSP, and sometimes they are only partially covered. Often she must decide whether to pay her utility bills, buy groceries, or pay for her medicine. She came into my office because she chose to pay for her medication one month, but then she could not afford to cover her utility bills, so her phone was cut off.

This woman relies upon the services of our local mental health crisis phone line. The counsellors provide her with the support she needed to manage her illness, but her phone was cut off. She was devastated. She told my staff that she regularly uses her food money to cover her utilities or medication costs. That simply is not right, yet we see it in all of our constituency offices every day.

Earlier this week, when we debated tax fairness in the House, I spoke about the true unfairness of income inequality. I will repeat some of the shocking, heartbreaking statistics that are a reality in Canada today.

According to the census data in 2015, the richest 1% now make 6.8 times more than a worker making Canada's median wage of $34,204.

In the Windsor-Essex area, the United Way said that about one-quarter of our youth live in poverty, which means that in 2013, 19,900 children under the age of 17 lived in families that had an income of less than $17,000 per year. This is not only unacceptable; it is offensive. When someone earns so little per year, there is no room for paying for medications, and people are making very difficult decisions about their health. It is time to move forward with a universal prescription drug plan that will save money through bulk purchasing power.

In New Zealand, where a public authority negotiates on behalf of the entire country, a year's supply of the cholesterol-busting drug Lipitor costs just over $15 a year, compared to $811 per year in Canada. This is a life-saving drug, and hundreds of thousands of Canadians take it. That is why Canada needs to combine the purchasing power of all Canadians under one plan. An annual investment of $1 billion by the federal government would mean that Canadians would save $7.3 billion a year on the medications they need.

What I wish to emphasize today is that New Democrats are of the fundamental belief that people should not have to worry about whether they can pay their hydro bill or afford their medication.

Today I have some statistics from the Canadian Labour Congress, but before I do that I want to read a quote from its president in a release that was issued today. This is from CLC president Hassan Yussuff. It states:

We are pleased that the NDP under its new leader Jagmeet Singh is continuing to make pharmacare such a priority, and we hope all political parties respond by making this much needed program a reality as soon as possible.

If the Liberals claim to be standing up for labour in this country, if they claim to be standing up for working people, then I hope that they will heed the advice of the Canadian Labour Congress president today and support what the New Democrats have brought forward.

I want to read some of the statistics from the Canadian Labour Congress, which state:

About 8.4 million working Canadians don't have prescription drug coverage.

The less you earn at work, the less likely you are to have prescription drug coverage.

Women and young workers are less likely to have the coverage they need.

Even those with drug plans are paying ever-increasing co-payments and deductibles.

The New Democrats are not alone in our belief in national pharmacare. An overwhelming majority of Canadians, 91%, believe that our public health care system should include a universal prescription drug plan. It is not just the New Democrats who are calling for this desperately needed action; several national health care commissions have recommended the same, along with the Canadian Medical Association, the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions, Canadian Doctors for Medicare, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, the Canadian Health Coalition, the Council of Canadians, CUPE, Unifor, and the Canadian Labour Congress.

If the current government is a true friend to all of those organizations, and labour, it is time for it to stand up. We are calling for a meeting. Surely the Liberals can commit to one meeting to talk about where we are going in this country with respect to pharmacare. All we are asking in this motion is that in one year we have that meeting.

It is time for action. Canadians have waited long enough. It is time to start the conversation.

Opposition Motion—PharmacareBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

2 p.m.


The Assistant Deputy Speaker NDP Carol Hughes

The hon. member will have five minutes for questions and comments after question period.

Statements by members, the hon. member for Montcalm.

Energy East PipelineStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Luc Thériault Bloc Montcalm, QC

Victory, Madam Speaker. Despite the support of the Liberal government and the previous Harper government and despite the National Energy Board's spinelessness, the energy east pipeline will not come through Quebec. This is a victory for citizens, for Quebeckers who stood up for their rights. The energy east saga showed that Quebec will never be able to count on federalist MPs to defend its interests.

If we cut through all the rhetoric, what we learned from this situation is that Canada is an oil-producing country that is prepared to jeopardize our lands, our lakes, and our rivers to sell its dirty oil. We learned that Quebec and Canada are two separate countries with different values, economies, and ways of doing things.

The death of energy east is a victory for those who are able to see past the end of their noses and think about future generations. It is a victory for the Bloc Québécois, who fought against this project before, during, and after the election. It is a great victory for Quebec, and a great day for the planet.

Marc-Aurèle-FortinStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Yves Robillard Liberal Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, QC

Madam Speaker, this summer I continued to travel across my riding to hear what residents of Laval had to say.

I began the summer by participating in the swearing-in ceremony of 40 new citizens on Canada Day. I also participated, with just as much enthusiasm, in the announcement by the governments of Canada and Quebec of over $30.4 million in funding to carry out 29 Société de transport de Laval projects.

I also visited several organizations that participate in the Canada summer jobs program and make a difference in my community. It was a privilege to meet the dedicated young workers from Marc-Aurèle-Fortin and their employers.

It remains my greatest privilege to represent my constituents. I will always be grateful to them, and I will continue to proudly voice their aspirations.

Moose Hide CampaignStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Arnold Viersen Conservative Peace River—Westlock, AB

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to draw attention to the Moose Hide Campaign.

Six years ago Paul Lacerte, a member of the Cariboo Clan, founded the Moose Hide Campaign while hunting with his daughter Raven along the Highway of Tears. As they hunted moose, they were both touched by the violence that had happened around them, and they decided to use the moose they hunted for the cause.

After tanning the hide and cutting it into squares, they began giving squares to other men, and encouraging men to stand against violence. Since then, the campaign has handed out half-a-million squares of moose hide.

Today, the Moose Hide Campaign is gathered in Ottawa where men will fast together in support of ending violence against women, and talk about what it means to be a man.

I join these men and women today, and thousands across Canada, in wearing this moose hide to signify our commitment to honour, respect, and protect the women and children in our lives, and to work together with other men to end violence against women and children.

Immigration, Refugees and CitizenshipStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Kamal Khera Liberal Brampton West, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize another significant promise fulfilled by our government. We have heard loud and clear from Canadians about the significant hardships they have faced on their journey to citizenship, due to unnecessary barriers created by the previous government.

Yesterday, I was proud to join my colleagues from Brampton and the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship in Brampton to announce that effective October 11, changes will be implemented to ease barriers for future Canadians on their quest for citizenship. The physical presence requirement for citizenship will be reduced to three out of five years, and the age range for knowledge and language requirements will be returned to 18 to 54 years.

These changes, along with those previously announced in Bill C-6, will help residents of Brampton West and across Canada reunite with their families, contribute to our society, and reaffirm that a Canadian is a Canadian is a Canadian is a Canadian.

World Teachers' DayStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Robert Aubin NDP Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, before being given the honour of representing the people of Trois-Rivières in the House, I was privileged to dedicate 25 years of my life to teaching.

I like to think that I have not left the profession entirely because I use the skills I acquired back then every day. That is why World Teachers' Day is such a special day to me and why I want to thank all teachers for their commitment to our young people.

What they teach is important, but their dedication, their actions, and the fact that they care often matter even more. They help young citizens in the making develop critical thinking and free will. Teachers rarely get the credit they deserve for their day-to-day work, and expressing our gratitude once a year is woefully insufficient. Putting an apple on a teacher's desk may be passé, but we can take a few minutes to send a heartfelt email to the teachers who are part of our children's daily lives.

I would like to express my gratitude and appreciation to my fellow teachers. Once a teacher, always a teacher.

Marie-Louise Angélique ClaracStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Emmanuel Dubourg Liberal Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise to acknowledge the bicentennial of Marie-Louise Angélique Clarac. In my riding, Bourassa, a school, a hospital, and a foundation are named after her.

Born in France in 1817, Sister Marie Clarac had already found her double vocation, education and religion, when she arrived to Canada. Every year, 1,300 students attend École Marie-Clarac. The hospital bearing her name is now a palliative care facility.

She spearheaded the Sisters of Charity of Saint Mary congregation, which serves patients and students in 12 countries on three continents. I am pleased to acknowledge the work of the members of this congregation, which carries on the work of Sister Marie Clarac.

Attack in Las VegasStatements By Members

October 5th, 2017 / 2:05 p.m.


Jim Eglinski Conservative Yellowhead, AB

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the heroes who risked their lives to save strangers and the blood donors who waited for hours to help the wounded when word went out that there was a shooting in Las Vegas this past weekend.

This tragedy has impacted Canadians far and wide, including the communities of Maple Ridge, British Columbia; Okotoks, Alberta; and Valleyview, Alberta. I have learned that a young resident of Jasper, in my riding of Yellowhead, was a victim of this senseless crime.

Whether it is the recent terrorist attacks in Edmonton or the violence in Las Vegas, Albertans and all Canadians will not be divided. We will stand together as a nation, support each other, and grieve together.

I want to offer my sincere condolences to all the families impacted by this tragedy.

Canadian ForcesStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Mark Gerretsen Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize the tremendous work of our troops overseas in protecting freedom and maintaining the security, sovereignty, and stability of our homeland and those of our allies.

At the start of the session, I had the honour of travelling with the defence committee to Belgium, Latvia, and Ukraine where we met with our military personnel stationed in those locations. What has perhaps been impressed upon me the most is that Canada's participation in Operations Unifier and Reassurance has encouraged other nations to get involved.

Witnessing the professionalism of our troops and the utmost respect they received while being deployed in these locations truly was humbling and instilled within me an immense sense of pride to be Canadian.

Our troops are our real nation builders. We politicians will come and go, but our brave men and women, promoting Canadian values throughout the world, are what truly give Canada its long-lasting reputation as a global leader.

As we enjoy our freedom, let us never forget the troops that sacrifice to make it possible. I thank them for serving Canada so selflessly.

First RespondersStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


John Aldag Liberal Cloverdale—Langley City, BC

Mr. Speaker, opioid-related overdoses have claimed almost 800 lives in B.C. so far this year, devastating families and communities throughout our province. These numbers would have no doubt been higher had it not been for our first responders, who are working on the ground to save countless Canadian lives.

This summer, I had the opportunity to observe first hand the work of Langley City firefighters; B.C. paramedics in the Downtown Eastside; the Langley and Surrey RCMP; and Surrey fire chief, Len Garis, whose crew alone reversed 240 opioid overdoses in 2016.

We have a lot of work ahead to overcome the opioid crisis in Canada. In the meantime, I would like to recognize the work of first responders in Canada who are on the front lines of this crisis doing their best, day after day and hour after hour, to save lives, including those of society's most vulnerable. I thank first responders.

Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-LoupStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Bernard Généreux Conservative Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup, QC

Mr. Speaker, 2017 is a special year for Rivière-du-Loup, which is celebrating a number of centennials this year.

The famous bell tower at city hall has been watching over Rivière-du-Loup's inhabitants for 100 years. The old Princess theatre remains a jewel of culture and architecture in the heart of downtown and is more vibrant than ever thanks to the “Vues dans la tête de...” film festival. We also have l'Harmonie de Rivière-du-Loup, the local band that continues to put on large benefit concerts for community organizations. Many musicians got their start there.

Finally, the world renowned Sisters of the Infant Jesus of Chauffailles chose to call this town on the St. Lawrence home and establish their provincial house there. It now houses the Poor Clares.

I congratulate everyone who has contributed to keeping these institutions alive so that they may be part of our regional story. Happy anniversary to all.

Co-op WeekStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Alexandra Mendes Liberal Brossard—Saint-Lambert, QC

Mr. Speaker, the week of October 15 is Co-op Week, an opportunity to celebrate Canadian co-operatives and their members. Co-op Week happens to coincide with International Credit Union Day, which is always the third Thursday of October.

Last April, the House recognized the importance of co-operatives by unanimously adopting my motion to promote and support Canada's co-operatives. The purpose of Motion No. 100 is to provide for the development and implementation of a strategy enhancing this sector so important for our economic growth.

It was with great emotion and pride that I received the unanimous support of my colleagues for this motion, inspired by the outstanding work of my former colleague, the hon. Mauril Bélanger. I firmly believe that co-operatives also play an important role in the betterment of our communities.

Co-operatives can support a number of government priorities, including the inclusive innovation agenda, the social economy, and the transition to a lower-carbon economy.

Happy Co-op Week to all Canadian co-operatives.

LaSalle—Émard—VerdunStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


David Lametti Liberal LaSalle—Émard—Verdun, QC

Mr. Speaker, there are two very important priorities of mine that I would like to talk about today, two aspects of public life that prompted me to get involved and faithfully serve the people of my community.

First of all, for the second year in a row, today I am hosting a day on Parliament Hill for the good people of LaSalle—Émard—Verdun. Welcome.

Also, for 25 years, I had the honour of working with bright young people with inquiring minds at McGill University. Over the years, as a teacher, I had a very special opportunity to support young people in their quest for knowledge as they pursued their studies and a greater understanding of the world.

I have gotten to know many teachers in LaSalle—Émard—Verdun at many levels, and I can attest to their dedication, intellect, and their pedagogical creativity. They inspire, as good teachers do.

On this day on the Hill for the people of my riding, and with Today being World Teachers' Day, I want to thank everyone for helping me remain humble and committed.

Nichola GoddardStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Erin O'Toole Conservative Durham, ON

Mr. Speaker, this morning in Cobourg, Ontario there was a small but poignant ceremony alongside the Highway of Heroes. A bridge on the highway was named in honour of Captain Nichola Goddard who gave her life serving Canada in Afghanistan in 2006.

Nicknamed Care Bear by some or Nic by her comrades, Nichola was destined to serve in the uniform of the Canadian Armed Forces and also as a Scout leader, mentoring young people. She grew up in many parts of our great country before joining the military, graduating from the Royal Military College and serving with the RCHA.

Sadly, Nichola was our 16th casualty in the Afghanistan war, and she was the first female Canadian soldier to die in combat. Her legacy lives across our great country, and now a part of our Highway of Heroes bears her name.

I want to thank the True Patriot Love Foundation, John Carswell and Canso Funds, and especially her family and friends for ensuring we preserve the memory of this extraordinary Canadian.

Tourism IndustryStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Terry Beech Liberal Burnaby North—Seymour, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to welcome members of the Hotel Association of Canada to Ottawa.

Hotels welcome guests to Canada from around the world. In the Vancouver area alone, hotels, like the Holiday Inn in north Vancouver, employ over 12,000 individuals.

Earlier this year, the Minister of Small Business and Tourism announced Canada's new tourism vision. This ambitious plan will grow the sector, create even more jobs, and grow the middle class.

Let us not forget that 2018 is the year of Canada-China tourism. I know that in my riding of Burnaby North—Seymour, many members of our community are looking forward to welcoming family and friends who will be visiting Canada for their very first time.

We are proud of our hotel workers, who are each in themselves the front desk of our nation. With their passion and commitment, they define what Canadian hospitality is all about.

I rise today to acknowledge their work and thank them for their service.

Women's CentresStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.


Ruth Ellen Brosseau NDP Berthier—Maskinongé, QC

Mr. Speaker, today we have with us representatives of two women's centres in my riding, the Centre Avec des elles in Saint-Gabriel-de-Brandon, and the Centre des femmes l'Héritage in Louiseville. They worked very hard to come visit Parliament and learn more about what MPs do in the House of Commons.

October 3 was national women's centres day in Quebec. I think we really need to emphasize how important women's centres are to our communities and support creating more of them.

Women's centres embrace diversity. They are places where all women can feel at home. They offer support, education, and so much more.

They bring women together and nurture feminist thought. They help women feel less isolated and advocate for women's individual and collective rights. In closing, I would like to thank Stéphanie Valée and Linda Provençal, who have both worked so hard to make today a wonderful day here on the hill.

TaxationStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.


Len Webber Conservative Calgary Confederation, AB

Mr. Speaker, I have a letter from a constituent in Calgary, Dr. Shannon Rabuka. She wrote:

If I was angry before, now I am furious.

When meeting recently to discuss possible tax scenarios if [the Liberal] tax changes are implemented, it was suggested that my family consider an individual pension plan.

I was absolutely dumfounded when one of the candidate products was offered by Morneau Shepell.

When I looked into it further, it seemed at though Morneau Shepell is one of the largest vendors of these plans. It appears as though [the finance minister] stands to directly benefit from the proposed changes to our country's tax law...

...I am not averse to a comprehensive overhaul of tax law to make the system more fair—even if that means that my husband and I pay more tax. However, it is really starting to look as though “fairness” does not apply to [the finance minister] himself.

The finance minister's company will benefit from these changes, while small businesses will suffer. It does not look fair, because it is not.

Moose Hide CampaignStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.


Vance Badawey Liberal Niagara Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, today begins the fifth annual Moose Hide Campaign, a campaign that urges all men to speak out against violence toward indigenous and non-indigenous women and children.

Five years ago, an indigenous man named Paul Lacerte was hunting moose with his daughter along the Highway of Tears in British Columbia, where far too many indigenous women and children have gone missing or been found murdered. At that moment, Paul thought to engage men in the fight to end violence against women and children, by using moosehide as a symbol of commitment to honour and respect women and children. Now more than 500,000 squares of moosehide have been distributed across our great nation.

I invite all Canadians to support the Moose Hide Campaign by proudly wearing a moosehide square promoting gender equality and healthy relationships, and speaking out against gender-based violence.

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

2:15 p.m.


Lisa Raitt Conservative Milton, ON

Mr. Speaker, this morning thousands of men and women who rely upon the energy sector for well-paying Canadian jobs got the news that they have been dreading.

Today's decision to cancel the energy east pipeline is a direct result of two years of political interference by the Liberal Party. Failure is the only word that comes to mind.

When will the Prime Minister recognize that his disastrous economic and energy policies are hurting Canadians and our economy?

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Papineau Québec


Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, TransCanada made a business decision based on market conditions. When it first proposed the energy east pipeline, oil was up around $90 a barrel, and the Conservative government had been unable to approve any new pipelines.

Since then, oil is at around half that price, and we have approved three new pipelines, creating jobs for more 31,000 Canadians in the energy industry. We will continue to stay focused on growing the economy and creating good jobs, while protecting the environment right across the country.

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

2:20 p.m.


Lisa Raitt Conservative Milton, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister is dead wrong.

The business decision was to invest $1 billion to start the process. The decision to not go ahead is a regulatory decision because of the double standard that the government is imposing upon Canadian projects.

The Liberals have cost 15,000 Canadians a job, and they have hurt our economy to the tune of $50 billion.

They are putting the interests of Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, and Algeria before Canadian jobs. What does the Prime Minister have to say to that?

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Papineau Québec


Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, it is obvious that the market conditions have changed fundamentally since the energy east pipeline was first proposed. Oil was up around $90 a barrel, and the Conservative government was unable to get any pipelines approved while it was in government.

The fact is that, since then, oil prices have dropped by half, and we have approved three different pipelines to get our oil resources to market, including new markets. The fact is that we are continuing to stand up for Canadian jobs, while we defend the environment.

The Conservatives are, again, just playing politics.

Regional Economic DevelopmentOral Questions

2:20 p.m.


Lisa Raitt Conservative Milton, ON

Mr. Speaker, obviously the Prime Minister does not realize that he is accountable for this dysfunctional regulatory process that Liberals put in place.

Two days ago, all the Atlantic MPs except for one voted against having a longer process for consultation on tax hikes to fishers, farmers, and local businesses, all but one. With this morning's announcement, Atlantic Canadians are faced with another economic blow.

This is what I want to know. These are important sectors, and they are vital to the east coast economy. When will the Liberals stop stifling opportunity and stop taking us for granted?