Tax Fairness in Budget 2018 and National Pharmacare

Elizabeth May

Madam Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for mentioning my friend Jim, who is just in front of the Chateau Laurier, along the bridge there.

He is also a veteran. He is in and out of hospital a great deal. He cannot afford his drugs, if not for people stopping and giving him whatever money we have. This is a shameful situation, right on the doorstep of Parliament Hill.

I accept, and I will vote for the NDP motion today, because closing those stock option loopholes was a commitment made. It is part of the Green Party platform as well. We need to stop the use of overseas tax havens, such as were revealed in the paradise papers, and stock option loopholes, which exist legally in this country.

I appreciate my hon. colleague from New Westminster raising the issue of pharmacare. At this point, the current government has not pledged pharmacare. The mandate letter to the minister of health did say that the minister of health should try to find ways for bulk buying of drugs to reduce the cost. I would like my hon. colleague to reflect on the ways we could save Canadians billions of dollars by moving to national pharmacare.

Peter Julian – Member for New Westminister-Burnaby

Madam Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for her question. She and I, and a number of other members of Parliament help contribute to Jim.

It is appalling to me, and I know it is appalling to her, that we have a person who has worked all his life, who is a veteran, and who is there every day having to beg to get the money to get through the month, to get the medication he needs, and yet Liberals walking past him are not willing to come into the House and say to the government to bring in pharmacare now.

What is wrong with that picture? These members of Parliament walk past Jim every day. Have they spoken to him? Do they understand the impact of what Jim, and so many other Canadians and Canadian families like him are going through? I just cannot contemplate an MP who can walk past and not want to take action.

The reality is, Canadians would save $4 billion a year if the government brought in pharmacare. That is $4 billion that is currently paid in private plans and Canadians paying out of pocket, Canadians like Jim. There is no reason not to bring in pharmacare, but Liberals seem to be absolutely resistant to do something that is in the public interest. However, they are willing to give tens of billions of dollars away , to sign tax haven treaty after tax haven treaty, and allow the digital tax havens to exist. Shame on them.