Pharmacare, military sexual misconduct among vows absent in Trudeau throne speech

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s throne speech offered a vision focused on the continued fight against COVID-19, reconciliation and the cost of living – but also left out a number of promises on high-profile issues.

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Delivered by Governor General Mary Simon on Tuesday, the 2021 throne speech delivered in broad strokes the prime minister’s vision for a country to rebuild from the chaos and uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic, with a focus on the importance, cost of lives . of reconciliation and a clean economy.

Also, the 32-page document did not mention issues such as the National Pharmacare plan, increased health care spending and the military sexual misconduct crisis.

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Leader Jagmeet Singh told reporters that for the NDP, who were often the Liberals’ closest dancing partners in the previous parliament, the absence of some of them raises important questions.

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“There is no talk about increasing investment in our health care to keep it publicly funded and well-funded,” Singh said. “And there’s no talking about pharmacare — something that was in the speech of the throne in the past and they’ve given up completely now — or dental care.”

Pharmacare has long been the subject of controversy between the Liberals and the NDP, with the latter arguing that more needs to be done to speed up the process of reaching a national agreement and that the government is working on it, but for a longer period of time. the wanted.

In 2019, the Liberals promised in their party platform to “take important next steps to implement a national Universal Pharmacare”. This year, the Liberals also highlighted in the party forum the fact that they have now signed an agreement with the provinces and territories to “accelerate the implementation of the National Universal Pharmacare”.

But it remains to be seen why the promise was abandoned this year after being notably involved in the previous two throne speeches.

Health care spending was also a concern for the Bloc Québécois, with leader Yves-François Blanchett telling reporters that the party had suggested the government hold a summit on health care funding in the future.

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“It doesn’t seem to have been accepted as an idea,” he said, adding that the party plans to present specific questions to the government within a few hours about the wording of the speech, which he said “could have been written by a college student.”

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Issues that found no mention included the challenges of dealing with continued protectionist policies in the US, Trudeau’s vision of Canada as a major producer of vital minerals for allies seeking a more secure supply chain, or the pandemic’s disproportionate economic impact on women. Were.

There was also no mention in the speech of the ongoing crisis of military sexual misconduct, which newly appointed Defense Minister Anita Anand has said is her “top priority”.

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The government has faced significant criticism for its handling of the matter so far, and all eyes are now on Anand as to what measures it plans to take to fix the long-standing problem.

Trudeau promised in a 2021 forum that the government would create an independent reporting system for military sexual misconduct, removing the process from the chain of command amid widespread reports of interference in cases and conflicts of interest.

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The government also promised to apologize to victims and victims of military sexual misconduct during the 2019 settlement of a $900 million class action lawsuit.

As of now, survivors and victims are still waiting for that apology.

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