Hansard
Consult the user guide
For assistance, please contact us
Consult the user guide
For assistance, please contact us
Add search criteria
Results: 1 - 15 of 765
View Tim Uppal Profile
CPC (AB)
View Tim Uppal Profile
2020-03-25 4:00 [p.2074]
Madam Chair, Albertans have been struggling for years. The unemployment rate of young men has been approaching 20%. Nearly $200 billion in oil and gas projects have been cancelled or stalled, and 200,000 Canadian oil and gas workers have lost their jobs in just the last five years, and this is all before COVID-19. Albertans need help.
What is the government doing to help Albertans during these unprecedented times?
View Tim Uppal Profile
CPC (AB)
View Tim Uppal Profile
2020-03-25 4:01 [p.2074]
Madam Chair, Albertans need a plan to receive the money the government is laying out, and not have to play a game of wait and see. Similarly, there is $21 billion worth in energy projects in the queue for regulatory review, with at least one waiting for cabinet approval. The government can direct regulators to speed up the reviews while maintaining the evidence and science-based approach with the highest standards, which Canada is renowned for.
Will this government fast-track major energy projects to get Alberta's energy sector back on its feet to get people working again and the Canadian economy going now and in the future?
View Tim Uppal Profile
CPC (AB)
View Tim Uppal Profile
2020-03-25 4:03 [p.2074]
Madam Chair, hopefully we will hear that sooner than later.
We already know that unemployment is at unprecedented levels and that people are struggling to pay their bills. The carbon tax makes these bills even larger at a time when every dollar saved is crucial for Canadians to be able to provide for their families. Will the government postpone the 50% increase in the carbon tax scheduled for April 1?
View Tim Uppal Profile
CPC (AB)
View Tim Uppal Profile
2020-03-25 4:04 [p.2075]
Madam Chair, on Monday the Minister of Agriculture announced additional funds for Farm Credit Canada, but producers need cash flow now to pay for spring inputs like seed, fertilizer and fuel. How will the funds for Farm Credit Canada be allocated and how quickly? Will these be interest-free loans and will all commodity groups qualify?
View Garnett Genuis Profile
CPC (AB)
Madam Chair, Canada must look at international comparisons and copy strategies used by countries that have been successful in controlling COVID-19. South Korea provides one such example. Its approach emphasizes widely available testing and tracking of the spread of the virus, making people aware of specific places where they might have been exposed and providing them with the test results as quickly as possible. This targeted testing and tracking approach has helped South Korea turn the corner. Taiwan's approach has been similar and similarly effective.
Has the government studied, and is the government preparing to adopt, the very successful containment model used by Asian democracies which also have more experience at pandemic control?
View Garnett Genuis Profile
CPC (AB)
Madam Chair, to emulate these models we need to have widely available testing and that just is not the case right now. Compared to the South Korean model, we have had very restrictive testing protocols in Canada. One front-line physician told me that he has to tell patients that they probably have COVID and should self-isolate, but there is not the capacity to test them in certain situations.
What is the government's plan to massively ramp up our testing capacity?
View Garnett Genuis Profile
CPC (AB)
Madam Chair, those numbers are not enough and the U.S. comparisons are not enough.
I have a quick question for the finance minister.
We know that the charitable sector is going to be struggling. Groups have proposed matching programs as well as an increase to the charitable tax rate in order to stimulate the charitable tax sector. What measures are being contemplated to support the charitable sector?
View Tom Kmiec Profile
CPC (AB)
View Tom Kmiec Profile
2020-03-12 11:00 [p.1983]
Mr. Speaker, I was listening carefully to my colleague's speech. He knows I have an interest in this particular file, and I have more of a comment than a question.
When the member talked about single-payer, streamlining and efficiency when referring to national pharmacare, I hope he does not envision it from the same people who ran Phoenix or the F-35 procurement and who run most of the government. The CRA typically fails at delivering the needed services for taxpayers.
I will give a specific example, because the only time the member mentioned rare diseases was when he was quoting from the Hoskins report. I have an example from my riding where the public health care system failed in my province.
Sharon Lim and Joshua Wong are users of the public health care system. There is a drug approved through CADTH, and there are approved drugs in Canada, but this one is not approved for reimbursement through a public insurer, which I think the national pharmacare system would make even worse. In their particular case, they cannot even get access through the special access program to a competing drug. This is a perfect example of a problem that is unique to the public insurance system, which will be made worse.
I heard the member talk about cost effectiveness and value for money, but those are decisions that should be made by patients and their doctors, not by bureaucrats in these towers here in Ottawa. This will affect patients with rare diseases such as cystic fibrosis, Alport syndrome and every single rare disease out there.
View Tom Kmiec Profile
CPC (AB)
View Tom Kmiec Profile
2020-03-12 11:30 [p.1988]
Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the parliamentary secretary for laying out the government's position on this motion.
Many members know I have a lot of problems with the way we currently have our system designed. I am worried that a national pharmacare system will compound all those problems.
The parliamentary secretary did not address the fact that a lot of medications today are a substitute for surgeries and things that would have required a hospital stay in the past. He did mention CADTH and the Canadian drug agency. Therefore, I have a two-part question.
First, will the Canadian drug agency be subject to the Auditor General, to parliamentary oversight and to the Access to Information Act, the way CADTH is not today? CADTH is not subject to any type of parliamentary oversight, which was discussed once at the Standing Committee on Health.
Second, with respect to the $1 billion that has been set aside in future budgets for rare diseases, there are no details on that. I have a lot of patients in my riding with different rare diseases, such as cystic fibrosis. Cambia has been refused twice now, on October 2018 and November 2017, by CADTH, a government agency, and Trikafta is not coming to Canada. The Prime Minister even got the name of the medication wrong yesterday when he called it “trifacta”. When will cystic fibrosis patients get the medications they need? Also, will any of these agencies be subject to parliamentary oversight?
View Matt Jeneroux Profile
CPC (AB)
View Matt Jeneroux Profile
2020-03-12 11:32 [p.1989]
Mr. Speaker, it is an absolute pleasure to split my time with the member for Mégantic—L'Érable, my seatmate and a well-informed member on this topic.
I think members from all parties can agree that we want Canadians to receive the best possible health care. However, universal or national pharmacare would have serious implications for all Canadians, without changing the status quo for most. According to a 2017 report by The Conference Board of Canada, 98% of Canadians either have or are eligible for private or public drug coverage, so we know that the vast majority of Canadians can access the medications they need without financial burden.
If we implemented a universal pharmacare program, this would not be the case. To pay for a universal system, taxes would have to be raised for all Canadians. We do not know how much that could cost, but estimates are around $15 billion annually. Under a universal system, the most vulnerable Canadians would see their cost of living go up due to higher taxes.
Canadians who currently have the coverage they need would give up some of their disposable income to fund the new system, while seeing no change to their quality of life or access to prescription medication. One thing I consistently hear from my constituents is that they cannot afford more taxes. They cannot afford higher living costs. Things are stretched tight as it is.
The government needs to be mindful of the economic times we are in. Oil prices are in free fall, COVID-19 is predicted to have significant impacts on our economy, rail blockades caused millions of dollars in lost economic development and companies are rethinking investing in Canada because of our “political climate”. Just yesterday, the TSX fell by almost 700 points, and we are now in what is called a bear market.
We are in uncertain times. Some have even called it uncharted territory. Right now, many Canadians are worried about their jobs and livelihoods. Now is not the time to implement a pharmacare program that would come at a massive cost on the backs of taxpayers. I am especially worried because of the huge deficit we already have, which is close to $30 billion. In December of last year, finance department documents showed it was at $26.6 billion and expected to keep rising. We will find out more when the finance minister releases his budget on March 30, the date we finally learned just yesterday.
We have this huge deficit, and I am still scratching my head and wondering why. We have been in relatively good economic times for the past few years. Canada was in good shape until 2015 thanks to the previous Conservative government that had the restraint to save and make tough decisions. The government has squandered that good fortune. Instead, it has gone on a spending spree and racked up unsustainable levels of debt and will leave the bill to our children and grandchildren.
Most economists know that one saves money in the good times and puts money away for a rainy day, as the saying goes. That did not happen, and now we are heading into a series of stormy days. The government cannot give any sort of clear answer on how it is going to respond to a recession. My guess is that it has no idea.
This is a crucial time for Canada. Companies no longer see Canada as a place to make a safe investment. The government has actively worked to shut down the energy industry with legislation like Bill C-69 and Bill C-48. Thousands of hard-working men and women are finding themselves out of work in my home province of Alberta, and this has had a ripple effect on the entire economy. What does all this have to do with pharmacare? As I said earlier, Canadians cannot afford higher taxes, especially in these uncertain economic times.
In last year's budget, the government pledged to work with provinces, territories and stakeholders to create the Canadian drug agency and to spend $35 million to establish a Canadian drug agency transition office. The government's advisory group was headed by a former provincial Liberal, Dr. Eric Hoskins, a man who is no stranger to endless deficits and debt. It is no surprise that the report he authored recommended the creation of a universal system. It is always buy now, pay later.
The Canadian Chamber of Commerce has warned the government of the impact on workers should pharmacare be implemented. Its chief economist, Trevin Stratton, said millions of Canadians would lose access to medications they have under the current plans. He said the government needs to “carefully reflect” on how millions of Canadians who already have access to prescription drug coverage would be impacted.
Some families experienced this recently when the Ontario government implemented free prescription medication for people under the age of 25. This program, OHIP+, cost roughly $500 million a year when it was implemented in 2017. Private insurance for those under the age of 25 became obsolete. Many parents complained that medications for rare diseases were not on the list of approved medications under OHIP+. These medications had been covered under private insurance.
I worry that the same thing will happen with this government when it implements a universal pharmacare system across the country. The prescription medication that many people are currently using and covering the cost of through their private insurance may become unavailable if not approved.
Not only will a universal system put more strain on Canadians through higher taxes and deficit, but access to much-needed prescription drugs may be threatened. The Liberals have been promising a pharmacare plan for decades and have done absolutely nothing about it. It was in their 1997 election platform and was promised again in 2004. Any promises to implement pharmacare are purely for political posturing. In fact, their 2019 budget contained almost no health care money until 2022, well after the election.
We on this side of the House know that one of the best things we can do to help Canadians is keep taxes and the cost of living low. Fiscal restraint is required to ensure the prosperity of our future generations. We need to make good decisions now, and I do not believe adopting a universal pharmacare program is a smart decision. As I stated, it would have serious financial impacts through higher taxes and bigger deficits. It would threaten access to medications currently covered through private drug plans. Research shows that about 98% of Canadians already have or are eligible for private or public drug coverage.
While we know that some Canadians legitimately struggle to pay for access to prescription medications, this is not the case for the majority of our population. We already have one of the best health care systems in the world, and we should be proud of the system in place.
Instead of focusing on big-ticket items like national pharmacare, the government needs to focus on the unfolding economic crisis. We need urgent action to unleash our economy. Budget 2020 must include cuts for workers and entrepreneurs to reward investment and work, a reasonable plan to phase out the deficit and reassure investors, a rule to eliminate red tape and liberate businesses, an end to corporate welfare for favoured companies and an end to the wasteful Liberal spending that we have seen over the past four years.
We are all in the House to help our constituents and all Canadians. We want to see them be successful and get ahead. Implementing an expensive pharmacare system will not achieve this. It will put more tax burdens on hard-working Canadians and it is not needed by the vast majority of our population. These uncertain economic times are not suitable for introducing a $15-billion pharmacare plan.
View Matt Jeneroux Profile
CPC (AB)
View Matt Jeneroux Profile
2020-03-12 11:41 [p.1990]
Mr. Speaker, ultimately that was the key component of my speech. As I indicated, yes, we do need to keep more money in the pockets of Canadians and keep our taxes low. Implementing a $15-billion pharmacare program is ultimately the antithesis to all of that.
According to The Conference Board of Canada numbers, only 1.8% of Canadians lack or are ineligible for any prescription drug coverage. To make the argument that we are suddenly putting more money back into constituents' pockets simply does not add up if we are going to spend $15 billion of public taxpayer money to do quite frankly the opposite.
View Matt Jeneroux Profile
CPC (AB)
View Matt Jeneroux Profile
2020-03-12 11:43 [p.1991]
Mr. Speaker, the Liberals have been advocating on this for so long. It was in their 1997 election platform, yet no progress has been made. They have been in government a few times between then and now and have not been able to cross the threshold with it.
Ultimately, we all want to make sure that Canadians have access to the drugs they need when they need them. I would refer the member to The Conference Board of Canada report, which indicates that only 1.8% of Canadians, less than 2%, do not have access right now. We want to make sure we are doing everything we can for that 1.8%, but dumping $15 billion into the budget as the solution certainly does not address that 1.8%. It would also impact so many other Canadians through the cost of living regarding, as the member indicated, the price of food and higher taxes we will see with that cost.
The Conservatives say there is a better way. We can all agree that we need to address that 1.8%, but a pharmacare plan is certainly not the way to do it.
View Matt Jeneroux Profile
CPC (AB)
View Matt Jeneroux Profile
2020-03-12 11:46 [p.1991]
Mr. Speaker, I am glad my colleague on the health committee brought up that point. Right now, we are seeing investment in drugs in Canada come to a grinding halt. The changes the government has put in place with the PMPRB, which comes into effect in July, have really had a significant impact on companies' ability to move forward with the drugs they intend to market, which means there is a lack of investment in Canada, research and product investment. That has come to a grinding halt because we are moving forward at a rapid pace.
I had the opportunity just yesterday to ask the health minister at committee whether we could pause this just a bit because patients are coming to our offices to tell us they were not involved in the consultation process. Whether it be for rare disorders, as we heard in some of the earlier debate, or for future drugs, patients really have not been at the table.
The Conservatives are asking the health minister to consider including more of those conversations. We are going to see that a lot of these drugs will not be available in Canada and will go to the United States.
View Tom Kmiec Profile
CPC (AB)
View Tom Kmiec Profile
2020-03-12 12:43 [p.1999]
Madam Speaker, I have been listening to what people have been saying. I have more of a commentary on what the member said and what his colleague said when he introduced the motion this morning.
On November 25, 2019, the minister of finance in Alberta sent a letter to the Minister of Finance federally, indicating that Alberta would not participate in a national pharmacare program. In fact, Alberta would be asking for the same deal that Quebec has. I just want to make that part of the official record here, that it is an official ask from the Alberta government.
In this debate, too few members have talked about access. They have talked about prices and how difficult it is to pay for some of the latest medication and prescription medicine. Access for patients is what patients want to hear about, and too few members have mentioned it. I think the member for Montcalm was the first one to actually make a big deal out of it. For patients with cystic fibrosis and patients with chronic kidney conditions, like my children, national pharmacare is a recipe for disaster.
I look at CADTH. CADTH twice said no to Orkambi. In the patchwork system in the United States, people can get access to Orkambi. They can get access to Trikafta. They can get access to needed medication.
I just want members to be careful. When they say that it would give access to everybody, it would not. This system would not work for rare disease patients.
View Damien Kurek Profile
CPC (AB)
View Damien Kurek Profile
2020-03-12 13:00 [p.2002]
Madam Speaker, I appreciate the member's comments and the story she shared about her dad's cancer is a touching one. I know I have similar stories in my family.
I would like to make a brief comment. She mentioned that pharmacare would result in free things for Canadians. The reality is that that is simply not the case. We see ballooning administration costs and bureaucracies that would keep the actual front-line services from getting the resources that they need.
My question for the member is quite simple. I have a number of small business owners, pharmacists, in my constituency who are very concerned about the current status of being able to access the medications that are prescribed to patients today. They are terrified. I use the word “terrified” because that is the word that was shared with me. These are small-town health care providers and pharmacists on the front line. They are terrified that they will not be able to access the drugs because of bloated government bureaucracy that would be the result of a national pharmacare strategy.
Results: 1 - 15 of 765 | Page: 1 of 51

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
>
>|
Export As: XML CSV RSS

For more data options, please see Open Data