Ms. Linda Duncan (Edmonton—Strathcona, NDP):
Mr. Speaker, Canada's universal public health care system is lauded worldwide. Sadly, universality of care is increasingly at risk, in part due to rising costs, including prescription drugs.
Worst affected are Canadians who are reliant on costly medicines, but can least afford them, seniors and others with low or fixed incomes. In Edmonton, almost 60% of those with low incomes are struggling to pay for necessary medicines.
Universal pharmacare would ensure more equitable access by all Canadians to affordable medicines and quality of life. The federal negotiating position for the next Canada health transfer agreement must include universal pharmacare.
Tommy Douglas, the father of medicare, did not intend to limit it to hospitals and doctors. Coverage of drugs and other services was to follow. Despite repeated proposals and pledges, Canada remains one of the few industrialized countries without a national drug plan.
I challenge every MP to stand with me and the friends of medicare and demand universal coverage for their constituents.