Bruske: Workers are calling on MPs for urgent action on pharmacare and two key pieces of legislation
OTTAWA––Workers from across Canada took to Parliament Hill this week to urge the government to create a public, universal pharmacare system.
“This government had a chance to show that they are serious about pharmacare, but we saw no mention of it in the recent fall economic statement,” said Bea Bruske, President of the Canadian Labour Congress. “This government has been talking about implementing pharmacare for years. Canadians have waited long enough, it’s time for this government to walk the talk.”
Pharmacare is a cornerstone of the Liberal-NDP supply and confidence agreement, with the two parties agreeing to introduce legislation by the end of 2023.
“The Liberals are running out of time to make pharmacare a reality,” said Bruske. “Hundreds of workers are in Ottawa this week to make it clear they expect the government to stand by its promise and make a universal public prescription drug plan happen and provide coverage for all.”
In addition to pharmacare, Canada’s workers are ramping up pressure on parliamentarians to pass Bill C-58 to ban scab labour and Bill C-50, the Sustainable Jobs Act rapidly.
Bill C-58 is currently being debated in the House and Pierre Poilievre and the Conservative Caucus have yet to state a clear and coherent stance on it. Despite the bill receiving support from the NDP and the Bloc Québecois, Poilievre continues to claim he needs more information before making a decision.
“Workers want to know: Do the Conservatives support the bill – support workers – or not?” said Bruske. “Poilievre is loud on rhetoric and good with soundbites, but completely silent on his real agenda – workers see through his nonsense.”
“In not clearly stating his support of Bill C-58, Pierre Poilievre has once again shown his true colours. He can talk all he wants about being for workers, but he has a chance right now to show that he’s with them and instead of doing that he is stalling the process – just like with Bill C-50,” said Bruske. “Poilievre has a long track record of attacking workers’ rights and siding with profitable corporations over everyday people, which makes clear the kind of leader he is. We remember when he introduced anti-labour laws and helped rich corporations pay even less in taxes and voted to cut support for unemployed workers. We know that he will vote against workers’ interests, every time.”
Canada’s unions also call on the government to take immediate action to move Bill C-50 forward and for the Conservatives to end their obstruction of the act.
“It’s time to move forward. Pierre Poilievre and the Conservatives have wasted enough time. Workers see through the Conservatives’ nonsense,’’ said Bruske. “Workers and their families are struggling to make ends meet and worry that they’ll be out of work as we transition our economy. I urge the Liberal government to introduce legislation to enact universal pharmacare and to move forward with bills C-50 and C-58.”
The Canadian Labour Congress is the largest labour organization in Canada, bringing together dozens of national and international unions, provincial and territorial federations of labour and community-based labour councils to represent more than 3 million workers across the country.
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