ontario news watch

Singh tells Conservatives to back off as House prepares for first pharmacare vote

OTTAWA — NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh is warning Conservatives to back down from attempts to block pharmacare legislation, as the House of Commons prepares to vote on the bill for the first time.

The legislation is a central condition of the NDP’s political pact with the governing Liberals, and includes a program to cover select contraceptive and diabetes medications and supplies.

Conservative health critic Stephen Ellis tabled an amendment to the bill last month that, if passed, would effectively quash the proposed law.

He argues the program will do nothing to address the health-care crisis and instead offers an inferior drug plan that covers less, costs more and builds up a massive new bureaucracy.

The New Democrats asked the Conservatives to withdraw that amendment today in what Singh is describing as an ultimatum, but the Tories declined.

The bill is expected to pass easily with the support of the Liberals and the NDP, no matter how the official Opposition votes.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 6, 2024.

Laura Osman, The Canadian Press

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