Alistair MacGregor

Alistair MacGregor

Alistair MacGregor: Liberal/NDP agreement giving us dental and pharmacare

This agreement will serve to ensure Parliament continues to function in the interest of Canadians

By Alistair MacGregor

Last month, New Democrats and Liberals concluded a confidence and supply agreement to shake up the political paralysis that has gripped our federal parliament since the Liberals were first reduced to a minority in the 2019 election.

The last two years of the COVID-19 pandemic have put Canada through a traumatic experience unlike any other in recent decades, culminating in protests against public health measures that manifested themselves into illegal blockades of our international border and an illegal occupation of our nation’s capital.

The rising costs of living and the discontent felt by many across the country demand bold policies at the federal level, which were in danger of being met by political stalemate and constant threats of early election. Festering crises have not been addressed in any meaningful way, which has been the unfortunate hallmark of Canadian politics over the last few decades.

Clearly, something had to be done.

Enter “Delivering for Canadians Now, A Supply and Confidence Agreement,” an agreement that will allow the federal Liberals to continue governing until 2025 in return for concrete actions. Our New Democratic caucus has been very clear in that our commitment is to ensure that Canadians get the support they need. The generational expansion of our public healthcare system to include dental care and pharmacare is the centrepiece of this agreement, finally ensuring that working families and seniors on low income have the support they need to look after their health. For the first time ever, Canada will see a Safe Long-term Care Act enacted to ensure that seniors are guaranteed the care they deserve, no matter where they live.

Finally, there are concrete actions on their way, including some big pieces on climate, on housing, and on reconciliation. Our NDP caucus will remain focused on using our power to ensure that Canadians get the help they need.

Under the terms of the agreement, party leaders will meet every quarter. There will be regular meetings conducted between House leaders and whips, which will include monthly ‘take-stock meetings’ presided over by an oversight group. These regular meetings will provide an opportunity for the NDP to push other issues not already included in the agreement, including pushing for the development of a federal office of environmental justice in Canada.

As your Member of Parliament, I am entering this agreement fully aware of the Liberals’ spotty track record on delivering on their promises and will be keeping a close eye on the progress of the agreement. That being said, I am excited that, through the important commitments secured by the NDP, this agreement will serve to ensure that Parliament continues to function in the interest of Canadians.

Alistair MacGregor is the Member of Parliament for Cowichan-Malahat-Langford.