Welcome to the #Election44 Saturday round up, where we take stock of this week’s news on Canada’s 44th federal election. Before we jump into the round up, here is a look at what happened on the campaign trail on Friday.
Singh Pledges to Implement Universal Pharmacare by 2022
Jagmeet Singh was in Thunder Bay on Friday announcing that a New Democratic Party government would immediately begin working with provinces to deliver a universal, single-payer, public pharmacare program by 2022. The New Democratic Party’s plan includes expanding healthcare to include prescription drug coverage for all Canadians by negotiating prices with pharmaceutical companies. Singh stated that while the Liberal government has committed to implement universal pharmacare since 2016, they have failed to move forward, and even “teamed up” with the Conservatives to vote against the New Democratic Party’s universal pharmacare plan tabled in Parliament. Singh was referring to Bill C-213, the Canada Pharmacare Act, which was defeated in February by the Conservatives, Bloc Québécois and majority of Liberal MPs.
O’Toole Pledges to Increase EI Benefits for Seriously Ill to 52 weeks
Erin O’Toole was in Corner Brook, Newfoundland, on Friday announcing that he would increase Employment Insurance (EI) benefits for seriously ill workers from 26 weeks to 52 weeks. “All too often, workers see their EI run out after 26 weeks while battling life-threatening diseases like cancer,” O’Toole said in a statement. “Canadian workers and their families deserve better.” According to the Conservative Party’s media release, they will create a new stream of EI benefits for those going through a serious illness, with the maximum weekly benefit remaining the same for all 52 weeks.
O’Toole’s announcement comes on the heels of the Bloc Québécois’ announcement earlier this week, which also called for the extension of sickness benefits to 52 weeks for the seriously ill. The current government’s Bill C-30, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on April 19, 2021 and other measures, committed to extend the Employment Insurance Sickness Benefit from 15 to 26 weeks, but the election was called before this measure could take effect.
Liberal Leader Announces $1 Billion for Vaccine Passports
Speaking from Mississauga, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau outlined his plan to “finish the fight” against COVID-19. The Liberal leader said that a re-elected Liberal government would create a $1 billion “Proof of Vaccination Fund” to support provinces implementing vaccine passports. The Prime Minister made clear that he would not implement a national vaccine passport, but would support provinces that implement provincial proof-of-vaccine programs. Funding would be made available to the provinces on a per-capita basis who (1) develop a proof-of-vaccine certificate and (2) implement an enforceable mandate to require proof of vaccine for access to non-essential businesses and public areas.
At this juncture, both Quebec and British Columbia have moved forward with proof-of-vaccine programs and will be eligible for the new federal funding. To date, Ontario Premier Doug Ford and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney have stated they would not implement vaccine passport programs.
Trudeau also announced the government would continue to procure booster shots and “second generation vaccines” as needed, and invest $100 million to study the long-term health impact of COVID-19 - over and above the $250 million already invested by the federal government since the outset of the pandemic.
Bloc Québécois Continues Advocating for Key Quebec Sectors
Yves-François Blanchet was in Saguenay on Friday calling for the creation of a $120 million federal fund to transform Quebec’s aluminum sector. According to the Bloc Québécois’ background documents, the new fund would be financed from “Quebec’s share” of tariffs collected by the federal government on American aluminum products in 2018-19, which amounts to $60 million. The additional $60 million would come from the federal government to compensate Quebec companies impacted by “American protectionism.” Blanchet stated that funding would be used to help the industry increase automation and productivity.
The Green Party had not yet made announcements on Friday at the time this article was finalized.
The Round Up: Campaign News From Earlier This Week
- Quebec Premier sends wish list to federal leaders
- Jagmeet Singh highlights affordable housing plan
- Paul calls for federal leaders to suspend campaigns to focus on Afghanistan
- Blanchet releases road map for forestry sector
- O’Toole announces plan to protect gig economy workers
- Prime Minister Trudeau outlines seniors plan
- Conservatives nudge out the Liberals in recent poll
- Bloc Québécois Calls for Extended Sickness Benefit
- Paul Outlines Elements Required for Pandemic Response
- Trudeau Pledges to Raise Taxes on Banks and Insurance Companies by Three Percentage Points
- Singh Promises to Take on ‘Big Telco’
- O’Toole Outlines Plan to ‘Secure Mental Health’
- Green Party Urges Federal Government to Move on Affordable Housing
- Blanchet Outlines Plan to Reduce Pesticides in Food Production
- O’Toole Outlines Plan to Protect Pensions
- Trudeau Announces Affordable Housing Plan
- Singh Pledges to End For-Profit Long-Term Care
- Liberals Aim to Contrast Themselves With Conservatives on Health Care
- NDP Pledges to Eliminate Subsidies for the Fossil Fuel Industry
- O’Toole Pledges to ‘Level the Playing Field’ Between Workers and Multinational Corporations
- Blanchet Outlines Plan to Combat Ethics Violations
- Annamie Paul Wants a Culture Change in Ottawa
- Bloc Québécois Launches Platform
- O’Toole Highlights Plan for Canadians Living With Disabilities
- Singh Continues to Push Housing Affordability
- Liberals Pledge to Protect Old Growth Forests in B.C.
- Poll Shows Conservative Party in the Lead for the First Time
- Mandatory vaccination policies were a topic of frequent discussion during the first week of the campaign
- What restraints, if any, does the law impose on Canadian employer’s ability to issue and enforce mandatory vaccination policies?
We look forward to updating you next week on the policy, politics and strategy characterizing Canada’s 44th federal election. If you have any questions regarding #Election44, including the policy discussed in this post and how it will impact your industry, please reach out to us at: email@example.com.