Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague from Elmwood—Transcona for the wonderful work he does on behalf of his constituents in the House. He is a fine parliamentarian.
It is so important to emphasize to Canadians the economic advantages of what New Democrats are proposing. The Parliamentary Budget Officer, taking 2016 as a model year, calculated the amount spent in the country during that time on all drugs that would be covered under a pharmacare system. He found that about $24 billion was spent that year. He then ran a model to find out what would have been spent if there had been a public single-payer system covering exactly the same drugs. He found that $20 billion would have been spent, and that is with conservative assumptions.
He attributed no savings to cost-related non-adherence. He attributed no savings to streamlining the administration. The savings came only through bulk buying and a more disciplined way of delivering these drugs to Canadians.
As I said in my speech earlier, that is low. There are academics who say we will save much more, between $6 billion and $8 billion to $10 billion per year. As an economic imperative, this is essentially a policy no-brainer.
I want to come back to the most important thing of all, and that is Canadian patients. We should not be content in this country when seven and a half million Canadians cannot get medicine. We cannot be okay with that. We cannot be content with that when we know there is a way to make sure all Canadians get the medications they need. This is imperative.
New Democrats are asking the government and the Liberals to act now, commit to public pharmacare and endorse the Hoskins advisory council's recommendations. Let us get to work and provide pharmacare to everybody.