Mid Island chapter meets with MP Sheila Malcolmson to discuss pharmacare

Brent Patterson
3 years ago

Chapter activist June Ross, MP Sheila Malcolmson

The Council of Canadians Mid Island chapter met with Member of Parliament Sheila Malcolmson today to discuss a national pharmacare program that would provide universal access to prescription drugs for everyone in this country.

Malcolmson is the NDP MP for the riding of Nanaimo-Ladysmith.

In September 2015, the CBC reported, "The NDP plans to spend $2.6 billion over the next four years to 'work towards a plan to support universal comprehensive public drug coverage for all Canadians', if it takes the Oct. 19 vote."

The Liberals criticized this commitment as 'another multi-billion dollar health care promise' even though a Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) study says that universal access to prescription drugs would cost governments an extra $1 billion a year, but would save Canadians $7.3 billion.

Toronto Star columnist Thomas Walkom commented, "[The details of the NDP plan] remain vague. Still, it’s worth noting that neither Justin Trudeau’s Liberals nor Harper’s Conservatives had come up with anything at all on this front. 'It’s the most comprehensive kick at the can we’ve seen', says [Danielle Martin, one of the authors of the CMAJ pharmacare study]. 'I’m thrilled they’re bringing it to the table.'"

Chapter activist June Ross notes that MP Don Davies is the NDP Health Critic and a member of the Standing Committee on Health.

Toronto Star columnist Susan Delacourt recently commented, "The Commons health committee has been studying the idea of a national pharmacare program off and on since late 2015. But neither [Health Minister Jane] Philpott nor her government has shown much enthusiasm for the committee’s work — at least so far."

Malcolmson says that it's important for chapter activists across the country to be lobbying their MP on this issue.

Sixteen Council of Canadians chapters are meeting with their MP this week to do just that. The chapters taking part in this mobilization for pharmacare are:
Ontario-Quebec -- Hamilton, Peterborough-Kawarthas, Peel Region, Thunder Bay, Kitchener-Waterloo
Pacific -- Vancouver-Burnaby, Comox Valley, Kamloops, Cowichan Valley, Mid Island
Prairies-NWT -- Quill Plains (Wynyard), Winnipeg, Brandon-Westman
Atlantic -- Prince Edward Island, Kent County, North Shore

In addition to her meeting with Malcolmson, Ross also had this letter to the editor published in the Nanaimo Bulletin earlier this week. Ross writes, "It is time for many seniors in our country to not have to choose between taking their meds or eating. The escalating costs of drugs is not just, particularly for the many who may require the medications to live with dignity and to not just survive."

To tell the Prime Minister and Health Minister it's time for pharmacare, please go to on our online action alert here.

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