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Results: 1 - 15 of 46
View Heather McPherson Profile
NDP (AB)
View Heather McPherson Profile
2020-07-08 15:07 [p.2564]
Madam Chair, I would like to thank the member for Carleton for flagging some of the issues that have been very important to people in my riding of Edmonton Strathcona.
Seeing how accommodating and friendly the Conservatives and the Bloc are today and how happy they are to get along, my question is the this. Instead of cutting services that Canadian families rely upon, would the Conservatives support the NDP's call for a wealth tax on the super-rich, which would raise $6 billion a year, and crack down on the estimated $25 billion in corporate taxes that we lose to tax havens each year?
View Heather McPherson Profile
NDP (AB)
View Heather McPherson Profile
2020-07-08 16:40 [p.2578]
Mr. Speaker, I just wanted to comment and ask a few questions of the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands. I was moved by the comments we heard from the member for Burnaby South, the member for New Westminster—Burnaby and the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands in terms of building back better and our opportunity to do this.
One of the things that I noticed is that what we have right now is a global pandemic that will require a global response. We understand that we cannot stop the pandemic if we try to be insular within Canada.
I really did appreciate the comments that the member made, but I wonder if she would agree with me that we would love to see a recommitment to sustainable development goals. It is the high-level political forum at the United Nations, taking place virtually of course.
Would she agree that we should be reconfirming our commitment to the sustainable development goals, and whether we could have 1% of our COVID spending, just 1% of it, going to help those around the world who are suffering so much at this time?
View Heather McPherson Profile
NDP (AB)
View Heather McPherson Profile
2020-03-12 17:51 [p.2049]
Madam Speaker, I stand today to speak about my support for this motion.
I want to start with the COVID-19 pandemic. It is a timely reminder that we are all global citizens and are all connected to one another. The health of Canadians is connected to the health of people around the world. Some days we may even take our health and health care system for granted, but not today of course. The global pandemic is a stark reminder that our health is fragile and so is our health care system.
Across the planet, countries that have had the infrastructure and capacity to quickly isolate and treat patients have had the most success at flattening the curve of infection. These countries have been able to save the lives of what will probably end up being thousands if not tens of thousands of people. While Canadians are rightly proud of our national health care system, we lack the critical element that other countries possess: the ability to provide ongoing medical treatment through pharmaceuticals. As I said, we are all connected. My health affects others' health. If I cannot access the medications I need, others may suffer the consequences. Canadians understand that.
I am a new member of Parliament, and one of the members who have never run for office. It was a real privilege to knock on doors in my riding of Edmonton Strathcona to learn from my constituents. I was particularly struck by the intelligence and generosity of opinions expressed by the people of Edmonton, people who clearly understand the growing disparity between the haves and the have-nots in Canada.
Edmonton Strathcona is a very diverse riding, with Canadians from every region of the world and from as wide a range of socio-economic backgrounds and situations as we would see in any major city in this country. When speaking with my constituents on their doorsteps about the NDP's priorities, I was not surprised to hear overwhelming support for our platform from those struggling to make their needs met. However, I was a bit surprised by how often my constituents who were not struggling were concerned about the very same things.
I will never forget one young man, a successful business owner living in a beautiful new infill home. He told me that his number one priority was health care for struggling Canadians. We talked for a long time about the NDP's plan for pharmacare, dental care and mental care, and he told me about his two young daughters and the children at their daycare and school. He was deeply concerned for his daughters' well-being of course, but he emphasized that their well-being was directly linked to that of their friends.
He described to me those he knew, many of them new Canadians who were not able to access the medicine that they needed. They or their children were going without necessary medications because they did not have drug coverage. He then looked me straight in the eye and said, “This is ridiculous. My child's health is in danger because these people can't pay for their drugs. You need to do something about this.” I am here hoping that I can.
Last week, Alberta was facing an economic crisis. Unemployment in Alberta has skyrocketed over the past nine months. Edmonton has the highest unemployment rate in the country. Thousands of Albertans have lost all or some of their employer-provided prescription drug coverage.
To make matters worse, Jason Kenney's United Conservative Party government just cut prescription drug coverage for thousands of seniors and their dependants, cut funding support for medical assistance devices for seniors and cut access to necessary biologics for thousands of others. In total, 46,000 Albertans have lost their health care and medication coverage or have had it drastically altered. Now these Albertans will have to pay out of their own pockets, if they can. If they cannot, they will pay with their health and possibly their lives.
One family affected by Jason Kenney's cruel cuts reached out to me recently. Helen spent 35 years in our community serving as a nurse. She had to retire before age 65 because of a brain injury. Thankfully, her husband Steve, who is over 65, had coverage for her and their son through a provincial seniors drug program. All three members of this family have health issues. When Jason Kenney kicked dependants off the seniors drug program, Helen and her son lost their coverage.
Today, this family is facing an additional $4,000 in drug costs. That is $4,000 per month. Helen and Stan are desperate for answers. Right now, they are looking into selling their home to cover the additional costs, but they do not know if that strategy will work. With unemployment so high in Alberta, housing prices in Edmonton are really declining.
This family is facing the most difficult decision of their lives. They are having to decide between their home and their health. This family and hundreds of thousands of other families across Canada live with these impossible dilemmas because Canada does not have a national universal pharmacare program.
When Jason Kenney cut this family's drug coverage, he saved the Alberta government millions of dollars, $72 million to be precise, and that is a lot of money. If we put that into context, the costs and savings hardly add up. For every tax dollar that Jason Kenney sent to foreign stockholders with his corporate tax cut, he got 1.5¢ in return from people like Helen and Stan. The cruelty is mind-boggling.
If we want to get a sense of how many Helens and Stans there are out there, we can ask a health care worker. Doctors know, and that is why they support universal pharmacare. Nurses know, and that is why they support universal pharmacare. Nearly every health care professional in our country supports universal pharmacare.
As I have mentioned in the House before, I am a cancer survivor. In fact, I have the incredibly good news to share that last week I was declared cancer-free. While I should have celebrated that news, I struggled to do so because I realized that I was lucky to access medication and the care that I needed to stand here as a cancer survivor. That is not the case for people in my province.
I had the opportunity to visit with my pharmacist the other day and discuss this issue with her. She told me that people would be shocked to learn how many people go without medicine because they cannot afford it. They stand in line with their prescriptions in hand and submit them, but when they find out how much their prescriptions cost, they leave. Those are the easy cases for her. Far more difficult for her are the ones who do not just leave, the ones who try to buy one or two pills, the ones who offer to pay for part of the cost now and some of it later, the ones who cry and the ones who beg.
She told me about one woman who, after paying for a prescription of medication her child needed, simply gathered up her child and her purse from her shopping cart and walked away, abandoning her groceries. This did not happen in a low-income area of Edmonton. This happened in the heart of Edmonton Strathcona, in an area full of lovely homes and well-educated residents.
It is not going to get better; it is only going to get worse. Last week, Alberta was facing an economic crisis. That was last week. This week, Albertans are facing economic collapse.
Tommy Douglas, the father of medicare, knew that our health care system was not complete without pharmacare. He recognized more than 40 years ago that health care is not universal if Canadians still have to pay out of pocket for their medications. In 1984, he said:
Let’s not forget that the ultimate goal of Medicare must be to keep people well rather than just patching them up when they get sick. That means clinics. That means making the hospitals available for active treatment cases only, getting chronic patients out into nursing homes, carrying on home nursing programs that are much more effective, making annual checkups and immunization available to everyone. It means expanding and improving Medicare by providing pharmacare and denticare programs. It means promoting physical fitness through sports and other activities.
The lack of pharmacare is a gaping hole in our health care system and Canadians are falling through.
For the past 23 years, the federal Liberals have made pharmacare a priority, or so they have said. It has been a cornerstone of the Liberals' platform in every election of the past two decades. The Prime Minister promised pharmacare in 2015 and 2019, and I suspect the Prime Minister will make the same promise again when the next election is called. How cynical must one be to continue to do this to Canadians? It is time to stop promising pharmacare. It is time to enact pharmacare.
View Heather McPherson Profile
NDP (AB)
View Heather McPherson Profile
2020-03-12 18:03 [p.2051]
Madam Speaker, I would like to echo some of the people who have already spoken in the chamber this evening. I have deep concerns about our ability to meet the needs of those with rare diseases. It is something I have met with my constituents on frequently. There are constituents I will be visiting next week when I am back home, and I want to make sure they understand how important this is to me.
That said, it is a little rich to hear from my Conservative colleagues that they are blaming the race to the bottom between the Liberals and the Conservatives on who cut more to health care. Certainly, we saw a cut to the transfer payments under Stephen Harper. What we need to do is not necessarily talk about that, but talk about how we can make our system better. Universal pharmacare is of course the best way to do that.
View Heather McPherson Profile
NDP (AB)
View Heather McPherson Profile
2020-03-12 18:05 [p.2051]
Madam Speaker, part of the motion the NDP has put forward would make sure that conversation takes place. Considering the high support Canadians have expressed for a universal pharmacare program, I am quite confident that it would not be difficult to convince them to encourage their provincial leaders to support such a move.
View Heather McPherson Profile
NDP (AB)
View Heather McPherson Profile
2020-03-12 18:06 [p.2051]
Madam Speaker, that is something we know will be the case. Having a national universal pharmacare program means we would be able to save by buying pharmaceuticals in bulk and by having a better system that works for all Canadians, not just those who can afford it. I would suggest that, yes, there would be a significant cost savings to Canadians.
View Heather McPherson Profile
NDP (AB)
View Heather McPherson Profile
2020-03-12 18:39 [p.2056]
Madam Speaker, it is a great honour to speak in the House. I am honoured to speak on behalf of my constituents in Edmonton Strathcona and on behalf of Albertans.
With each passing day, I ask myself if there is a future for my children in Alberta. For 60 years, Alberta has become gradually and increasingly dependent on a single resource sector, a single resource that has driven the economies of Alberta and Canada in times of boom, but also devastated families and communities in times of bust. It is Albertans who have always paid the price for this dependence. Now Albertans face more than just another devastating bust cycle. Albertans are facing economic collapse.
Forty years of Conservative leadership in Alberta dedicated to rip and ship has cost Albertans dearly. It has meant that the value gained from a single resource and the jobs created declined even as production grew. Now, with the global climate crisis threatening our very existence, the world no longer needs or wants this single resource, a resource that accounts for 30% of Alberta's economy today.
Last week, I asked the government what it was going to do to help ensure a future for Alberta. I noted that unemployment in Edmonton, where I live, is the highest in Canada. I asked for investment in Alberta to create jobs now and investment to help diversify our economy for the future. I asked for our government to stop misleading Albertans, to stop telling us that there was going to be some sort of renewal of oil and gas and that it was coming back to $95 a barrel. I asked why the government is failing on diversification and failing to support Alberta workers. The Prime Minister responded, saying, “That is why we have worked to build the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion”. This is not good enough. Albertans desperately need this government to work with us to diversify our economy.
Last week Canadian crude was $47 a barrel. Today it was worth less than $20 a barrel. At the moment, it is $17.58. Last week Alberta was in the midst of an economic crisis. This week we are facing economic collapse. However, we do not have to. We can build a better future for Alberta if this government decides to take action.
My riding of Edmonton Strathcona is home to The King's University, the south campus of the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology and the University of Alberta. There are amazing researchers, inventors and innovators from academia and industry. Since my election, I have been privileged to hear a steady stream of ready-to-implement ideas to lower our greenhouse gas emissions and build our economy. In fact, I am convinced that we have the answers we need to address climate change and diversify our economy if we have the means to implement them.
Translation of research and development into commercialization and practice has always been a challenge for science and innovation. Every great idea or advancement requires funding to come to realization. Some projects, like advanced carbon sequestration practices, do not have access to venture capital because they do not have commercial outcomes. Others, like sulphur removal technologies, may have future commercial appeal but require funding for prototype development now.
Funding for these new ideas is one way to support Alberta. The Liberal government could help Alberta right now by creating an Alberta infrastructure bank for energy and other diversification projects and by targeting investment for—
View Heather McPherson Profile
NDP (AB)
View Heather McPherson Profile
2020-03-12 18:46 [p.2057]
Madam Speaker, I am always happy to talk about our development efforts. Today's question was on the diversification of the economy for Alberta, but I would like to quickly point out that our official development assistance is at the lowest it has ever been and that there is much work we could do. Similar to what we see in Alberta, we have a government that is certainly speaking about the right things, with the feminist international assistance policy, and in terms of supporting Alberta, but is not actually doing the work we need to have it do.
There are things we could do in Alberta right now to help Alberta workers and I would encourage the government to move on that as soon as possible.
View Heather McPherson Profile
NDP (AB)
View Heather McPherson Profile
2020-03-10 15:55 [p.1897]
Madam Speaker, one of the biggest losers in the CUSMA is the supply-managed dairy sector as the member said. Along with concessions and CPTPP, this latest hit means a 10% loss of market share to Canadian producers.
Could the member speak about whether the Conservatives support the supply-managed dairy sector and if so, why they have supported every assault on the sector over the last five years?
View Heather McPherson Profile
NDP (AB)
View Heather McPherson Profile
2020-03-10 16:08 [p.1899]
Madam Speaker, I have a quick question.
I agree that this is not a perfect agreement. I think New Democrats all agree that it is not what we had hoped for. There is a lot in it that we like, but it is not a great agreement.
One of the things that is most concerning to me is the way the negotiations happened. It was all done behind closed doors. Parliamentarians were not invited into that process. Nor were the citizens of Canada invited into the process. That is not how we would like to see trade negotiations go forward. We would like to see Canadians involved from the very beginning, not given a fait accompli at the end.
Could you talk a little about whether a Conservative government would potentially also ensure that Canadians and parliamentarians would be involved in the process right off the bat?
View Heather McPherson Profile
NDP (AB)
View Heather McPherson Profile
2020-03-10 16:23 [p.1902]
Madam Speaker, when the NDP called on the government to wait to ratify the first version of CUSMA so that the Democrats could improve it, the Deputy Prime Minister said, “what the NDP needs to understand is that reopening this agreement would be like opening Pandora's box.... It would be naive for the NDP to believe that Canadians would benefit from reopening this agreement.” However, the Liberals are very keen to brag about the improvements made by the U.S. Democrats.
Why should Canadians believe that the Liberals had anything to do with the changes that increased protections for workers and guard against higher drug prices?
View Heather McPherson Profile
NDP (AB)
View Heather McPherson Profile
2020-03-09 13:37 [p.1790]
Madam Speaker, I noticed we are talking a lot about grasshoppers, ants, chickens and all those things.
Historically, we have seen that the Liberals and Conservatives have not been working to make our economy work better for working-class Canadians. They have typically been working to make it better for their wealthy friends. We have seen subsidies for corporations. We have seen tax breaks for the wealthy. We have seen things like income splitting, which we know works best for those who are the wealthiest. Historically, we know that we have not done the work we need to do to diversify our economy.
Could the member tell us what a Conservative government would do in the short, medium and long term to protect the economy, particularly in my home province of Alberta?
View Heather McPherson Profile
NDP (AB)
View Heather McPherson Profile
2020-02-25 13:29 [p.1500]
Madam Speaker, I will be sharing my time today with the member for Timmins—James Bay.
I would like to thank my NDP colleagues for using the first opposition day to urge the government to work collaboratively for working-class Canadians.
In this minority Parliament, the Liberals have a choice. They can provide a tax break to people who are making more than $90,000 a year or they can offer dental coverage to families making less than $90,0000 annually. In fact, if I were the Liberals, I would be jumping at the chance to support an opportunity to work so well for Canadians. What we have been able to provide here is an opportunity for the Liberals to see what they could accomplish instead of giving a few more dollars to people who do not actually need the money.
We know right now that we are leaving millions of Canadians behind. They cannot afford to go to the dentist. We know that this is causing incredible stress on our emergency rooms. We are spending $155 million annually on dental-related emergencies. These are preventive things. This is money we would not have to be spending if we had dental care for people who need it.
By providing access to oral health, we would also ensure that we are preventing other serious health conditions, such as cardiovascular disease, dementia, respiratory infections, diabetic complications, renal disease complications and premature birth and low birth weight.
We need to start protecting all Canadians, particularly those who are most vulnerable. I have spent a great deal of time in my riding of Edmonton Strathcona, which is a very diverse riding. There are large number of students in my riding, and there is a large diversity in socio-economic status. I have spent a lot of time on doorsteps talking to people, and I am unbelievably surprised by the incredible support for a dental program in this country.
What is interesting to me is that it is not just those people who would benefit from a dental program who are so supportive of it. It is, in fact, Canadians of all economic backgrounds, whether they can afford their own dental care or not, who recognize that we have an obligation to make sure all people within our community are taken of.
I spoke to a constituent of mine, a young father who lived in a lovely home and clearly had a level of income that is quite comfortable. He had two daughters. He spoke to me at length about his support for medicare, pharmacare, mental health care and dental care. I said to him that he obviously had the money to take his kids to the dentist and asked him why he was worried about dental care. His response to me, which is something every person in this House needs to acknowledge, was that his children's well-being and his well-being depend on his community and country doing well. He was worried about the kids at his daughters' school and their ability to access dental care.
If Canadians like this young father can be generous and understand the obligation we have to represent Canadians and do what is best for Canada, I really find it problematic that there are people in this House who do not recognize it. We know that across Canada there is incredible support for a dental program, and the majority of Canadians who have elected us to represent them in this House have asked for and supported dental care. What right do we have to not support that? What right do we have to not support dental care when the people who put us in this building to represent them have said that they want dental care?
It is also really important, and people have brought this up before, that we talk a bit about how the Liberals say that there is no money for things that they do not want to put money into while there is always, always money for the things they think are important. This is not the first time that members will hear this, but Loblaws does not need Canadian taxpayer dollars. Mastercard does not Canadian taxpayer dollars. The ones who do need it are young families who cannot afford their dental care and university students and families who are struggling to make ends meet in my province, where 19,000 people were laid off in January. Those people need support. They need support to be able to access dental care.
A budget is coming out in our province today, and it is not going to get better there. There are people hurting in Alberta, and this is a concrete thing that I and all members can fight for on behalf of our constituents.
I would also like to take a moment to offer to my Conservative colleagues the thought that millions of Canadians do not have dental care, but the biggest benefits from the Liberal tax cuts go to the wealthy. Conservatives talk a lot about standing up for working Canadians, so I can only assume that they will be supporting our plan to cap the cut for the wealthiest and invest those savings in a dental care plan that will benefit millions of hard-working Canadians.
I am so proud to be a New Democrat, to represent Edmonton Strathcona and to have a proposal that would immediately help 4.3 million people and save our health care system tens of millions of dollars each year. It is time we started delivering on the needs of everyday Canadians and it is time we started investing in Canadians and their needs. Dental care is health care. Canadians should not have to choose between taking care of their teeth and taking care of their health.
View Heather McPherson Profile
NDP (AB)
View Heather McPherson Profile
2020-02-25 13:37 [p.1501]
Madam Speaker, the motion is about dental care and the need we have seen across the country for dental care. While there are a number of different things that the NDP has been fighting very hard for, in this motion we are looking at dental care and how we can support people who need some support for their dental care.
We are not saying this should apply across the board; this is for families that actually need dental care support.
I thank the member for bringing up options for other ways we can support Canadians.
View Heather McPherson Profile
NDP (AB)
View Heather McPherson Profile
2020-02-25 13:38 [p.1501]
Madam Speaker, I am glad that the Bloc is a progressive party. It is nice to have them on our side of the room.
We would like to see a plan that would be national in scope. We are looking for dental care that would be available to any Canadian who needs it. Whether or not there is an opportunity to discuss that further, I would have to talk to my colleagues.
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