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Three Glaring Holes In The Federal Government’s 2019 Throne Speech

Read the fine print

Yesterday’s throne speech presented the Trudeau minority government’s priorities and, despite talking about pharmacare, the environment and tax fairness — the fine print of those commitments remains iffy.

Here is a break down:

1) No Commitment To Expert Report’s Pharmacare Findings

Yesterday’s throne speech mentioned:

Too often, Canadians who fall sick suffer twice: once from becoming ill, and again from financial hardship caused by the cost of their medications. Given this reality, pharmacare is the key missing piece of universal health care in this country. The Government will take steps to introduce and implement national pharmacare so that Canadians have the drug coverage they need.

But what exactly is “national pharmacare”?

While the Trudeau government’s expert panel pushed for a universal, single-payer pharmacare system, modeled on the system Canada already uses to provide universal hospital care, Trudeau has been cagey about committing to those findings.

Trudeau’s government has also been lobbied heavily by the pharmaceutical industry which would much prefer a fill-the-gaps model where prices remain unreasonably high compared to the publicly-delivered plan recommended by the government’s own panel.


2) No Word On Meeting  2030 Emissions Target

The throne speech also mentioned:

The Government will set a target to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. This goal is ambitious, but necessary – for both environmental protection and economic growth.

This ignores the fact that the Trudeau government previously committed to meet former Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s target of reducing emissions 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030.

According to the government’s own research, through Environment and Climate Change Canada, Canada is falling short of the previous Conservative government’s targets. ECCC found even under a best-case scenario — one that takes into account policies already in place and those that are “under development but have not yet been fully implemented” — Canada will not meet the Harper government’s 2030 target.

3) “Tax fairness” Without Closing Tax Loopholes

While the throne speech said:

In this new mandate, the Government will provide even greater support to the middle class and the most vulnerable Canadians by pursuing tax fairness, continuing to invest in people, and growing the economy.

Sadly, despite the talk about tax fairness, there was no talk about closing the tax loopholes that overwhelmingly benefit Canada’s wealthiest men.

While earlier this year, Finance Minister Bill Morneau introduced a plan that promised to deal with the stock option loophole, it was criticized for opening up new loopholes within the existing loophole.

A post-election Abacus Data poll found strong support for “raising taxes on the rich and closing tax loopholes” among Canadians.

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