Pharmacare deal keeps the peace in Ottawa-for now

To some, NDP leader Jagmeet Singh reaching a deal with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on pharmacare was akin to signing a deal with the devil.

For others, it was a cause for celebration, a follow through on a promise that was first issued in March of 2022.

There are many ramifications of the Canada Pharmacare Act, perhaps the most significant is the fact medications such as insulin will now be covered for Canadians living with diabetes. That it took this long to have life-saving treatment such as insulin covered is embarrassing. Even more so when the discovery of the treatment by Frederick Banting, Charles Best, John J.R. Macleod and James Bertram Collip is considered one of Canada’s proudest achievements. Better late than never, as they say.

Beyond the obvious medical advantages the deal also means Canadians likely won’t be heading to the polls until 2025. As part of the deal, the NDP agrees to continue to prop up the Liberal minority that resulted from 2021’s election. At least for now, until the next scandal or political crisis emerges.

Keeping the peace is particularly important for Trudeau’s Liberals, at least if polls are to be believed. Granted advance polls can never be fully trusted, the vast majority of them indicate Pierre Poilievre’s Conservatives are currently in a very good spot. Perhaps even majority type positioning. Naturally the news of the NDP/Liberal deal had to be disappointing for the Conservatives, who would likely trigger an election tomorrow if they could. As for the NDP, there’s not much reason for them to expect any major gains at the moment. As much as they’d love to be in power, if they’re realistic, they know a Liberal government is easier for them to get along with as opposed to a Conservative one. Each individual voter is different with their own ideals and concerns, but a NDP supporter is more likely to choose Liberal as their second choice-though it may be becoming increasingly more begrudgingly.

A lot could happen between now and October of 2025. Trudeau’s popularity has waned drastically since he first came into power, though he has managed to keep his job for two subsequent elections now. Whether he’d follow in his father’s footsteps and step down before the next election if the numbers don’t look good, that’s anyone’s guess. If he holds the title of prime minister until 2025, he’ll have led Canada for 10 consecutive years. The cold hard fact is any politician, from any party, would have a very tough time remaining liked for 10 years, possibly 14 if he were to run again.

Whatever the motives for reaching the pharmacare deal, the bottom line is its great news for millions of Canadians who are feeling the pinch of the rising costs of everything else. No one should have to choose between which necessities they can afford. If striking this deal meant some politicians had to sell their soul, so be it. The sad reality is they’ve been known to sell it for much worse things.

-Adam Prudhomme

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