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P.E.I. chapter’s letter to the editor on pharmacare endorsed by former senior policy analyst

Chapter activist Mary Cowper-Smith

The Council of Canadians Prince Edward Island chapter’s letter to the editor on pharmacare has been backed by Richard Deaton who worked as a senior policy analyst for the federal and Saskatchewan governments.

Deaton writes in The Guardian, “Mary Cowper-Smith of the P.E.I. chapter of the Council of Canadians made a powerful and persuasive case for implementing a comprehensive, universal, national pharmacare program covering prescription medications for all Canadians [in this letter to the editor].”

He notes, “[In 1981, I went to work for Premier Alan Blakeney’s NDP provincial government in Saskatchewan] that had had implemented a comprehensive, British-style pharmacare program. All residents of the province were entitled to this coverage. Imagine my pleasant surprise when I filled my first Rx at our neighbourhood pharmacy and was told that I only had to pay a $5 fee (co-payment); any amount in excess of that was paid for by the provincial government.”

He adds, “Saskatchewan, in the best CCF tradition, introduced both the first medicare and pharmacare programs in Canada. Few people are aware of this history. Subsequently, Saskatchewan’s provincial pharmacare program was terminated by Grant Devine’s newly elected Conservative government.”

Deaton concludes, “Contrary to American-style, dog-eat -dog Social Darwinism, a national pharmacare program for all Canadians is a collective or communitarian way in which to promote the health of all people, not just that of a privileged minority. It is recognition of our mutual responsibility to help our neighbours. Pharmacare is a social program whose time has come.”

Over the past two weeks, 18 Council of Canadians chapters mobilized – through meetings with their Member of Parliament, leafleting at public gatherings and at a public forum, and through letters to the editor – in support of a national pharmacare program that would provide universal access to prescription drugs for everyone in this country.

To tell Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Health Minister Jane Philpott it’s time for pharmacare, please go to on our online action alert here.