Recent highlights from the Council of Canadians

Recent highlights from the Council of Canadians r1 ... r71 | Add us to your address book Public Pharmacare Now

Pharmacare now means pharmacare NOW

With health care privatization on the rise across Canada and more and more people suffering under the punishing effects of inflation and corporate greed, the need for universal, public pharmacare has never been more urgent. Cost-related medication non-adherence – the phenomenon of people skipping doses or not taking their prescribed medication at all because of the price tag – was already high before the latest cost of living hike, with one in ten people in Canada reporting they couldn’t afford their prescriptions. More than half of Canadians report feeling “threatened” by health care costs. It’s a catastrophe on the individual level, for those who find treatment for medical conditions out of reach because of money, and for the health care system, which is faced with more people requiring urgent and acute care for illnesses that could have been managed if only they could afford the cost of medication.

The problem is massive, its full toll incalculable. And yet there is a solution so simple that it is unfathomable that it has not yet been implemented: pharmacare, now.

The federal Liberal government has been promising pharmacare since they were first elected. They have promised it on the campaign trail and they have promised it in throne speeches. They commissioned a report – the 2019 Hoskin’s report – that laid out a roadmap for achieving pharmacare. And yet they have – cravenly, contemptibly, cynically – refused to follow through on implementing a program that enjoys supermajority support among Canadians across the political spectrum. The 2022 Liberal-NDP supply and confidence agreement was meant to facilitate the implementation of pharmacare, and yet, nearly one year later, Canadians are still suffering the symptoms of treatable conditions, still forced into making the impossible choice between paying for essential medicine or paying for food or heating. The government is acting in bad faith, and ordinary people are paying an unbearable price.

The thing that is holding back universal, public pharmacare isn’t the complexity of the legislation or political wrangling, it is, quite simply, the pharmaceutical industry’s grip on the Canadian government. New data released by the Fight for Pharmacare Alliance, a coalition of patient advocates, unions, and health care professionals, of which the Council is a part, shows that since the Liberal-NDP supply and confidence agreement was announced in March 2022, Big Pharma’s lobbying of the federal government quadrupled over years past. This means that while Canadians are skipping doses of their medication or cutting back on eating food so they can afford their prescriptions, Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos and his officials have been meeting with industry lobbyists three to four times per week. Big Pharma is making their influence felt, ordinary people must do the same.

Find out more about the Council of Canadians’ fight for pharmacare here and join people from coast-to-coast-to-coast who are demanding universal, public pharmacare now. Join the fight to win public, universal pharmacare Five public health care issues returning to parliament

Five public health care issues to watch

Parliament is back, and the health crisis continues. There is no end in sight for what health professionals describe as a perfect storm for hospitals caused by a surging number of patients in emergency rooms, staffing shortages, and even erratic supplies of medicines. Burnout among health care workers is at an all-time high and people have begun to die unnecessarily in Canadian ERs. This could be a make-or-break year for public health care.

These circumstances will not change without a fight, and the Council of Canadians is, and will continue to be, on the frontline of the battle for public health care in Canada. We will be on Parliament Hill, in front of legislatures, and in our communities this year, working with allies at the Canadian Health Coalition (of which we are a member) and local health coalitions, to create a universal public health care system that treats people based upon their needs, not their ability to pay. Read More Extracting Justice

How Sue Big Oil could win in B.C.

Sue Big Oil was convened by West Coast Environmental Law in 2022 and was very quickly taken up by a broad coalition of advocacy groups and ordinary British Columbians. It’s a campaign based on a very simple principle: the polluter should pay. For decades, Big Oil has reaped staggering profits from the destruction of land, water, and air. With full knowledge of the catastrophic climate impacts their business would have, they extracted whatever they could, accumulating vast wealth at the expense of every living thing on Earth. Much like the successful lawsuit against Big Tobacco in the late 90s, Sue Big Oil is meant to hold industry accountable for conspiring to suppress scientific information about the harms of their product, and to extract from them financial compensation for the devastation they left in their wake.

As things currently stand, oil and gas companies are enjoying record profits in part because they don’t pay for the consequences of their business model, like the deadly heat dome and atmospheric river floods of 2021. These so-called externalities simply don’t appear on their balance sheet. The lawsuit would change that by compelling the fossil fuel industry to pay their fair share of the costs of climate disaster relief in communities like Lytton and Abbotsford. But it would also go a step further, seeking funds to pay for the necessarily rapid and far-reaching shift to a low-carbon economy. Read More Flood Parliament

The feds released their Sustainable Jobs Plan – how does that factor into a just transition?

The Sustainable Jobs Plan addresses many of the key things the Council of Canadians has been calling for in our Flood Parliament campaign, including: creating good green jobs to support workers and communities; protecting worker rights, Indigenous rights, human rights, and migrant justice through the transition; expanding the social safety net; addressing inequality and inequities; and driving inclusive workforce development.

However, the plan also misses the mark in some pretty significant ways. The emissions cuts it outlines – 40 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030 – are well below the 60 per cent necessary to meet climate targets. There’s also far too little in the way of accountability. The plan proposes an initial progress report in 2025, but the urgency of the climate crisis – and the economic burden on ordinary people – demands much more frequent check ins to ensure that the plan is meeting its targets and not leaving anyone behind.
Read More Ask your MP to support a just transition in their regional caucus. Take Action

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