Canada's NDP


February 24th, 2021

Media Release on the Canada Pharmacare Act

Conservatives and Liberals vote to deny Canadians universal pharmacare

This afternoon, Heather McPherson, NDP MP for Edmonton Strathcona, was the only Alberta MP to vote in favour of universal pharmacare. Alberta's 33 other MPs, all Conservatives, aligned with the ruling Liberals and voted against the NDP's Bill C-213, An Act to Enact the Canada Pharmacare Act. The bill would have created a path to establish a universal, single-payer, comprehensive and public pharmacare plan.

Before the pandemic, 1 in 5 Canadians were unable to afford the medication their doctors prescribed. COVID-19 made the situation worse, exposing the gaps in Canadians' healthcare system. The NDP bill was designed around the findings in the Liberals' own Hoskins Report, putting the Liberal government in the awkward position of voting against their own recommendations.

"I'm disappointed by today's vote," said McPherson. "It's clear neither the Conservatives nor the Liberals are interested in the needs of everyday Canadians. The pandemic has cost people their jobs and businesses and is forcing them to choose between paying for their medication and putting food on their table. No one should have to make that choice. Canadians need and deserve a national pharmacare program."

The Liberals have been promising to implement universal pharmacare for 24 years but have failed to act on it. Polls show that Canadians overwhelmingly support pharmacare (88 per cent support), making the opposition by Liberal and Conservative MPs difficult to understand.

McPherson asserted that the New Democrats are not going to give up pushing for pharmacare. "Just as our party led the fight to establish universal public health care for all Canadians, we are leading the fight to expand Medicare – to include quality prescription drug coverage for everyone, regardless of your job, where you live, your age, your health status, or how much money you make."