Bill Morneau in Hot Water Over Pharmacare Study

Labour and health groups are asking Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to remove Bill Morneau, the Canadian Finance Minister, from the government’s national pharmacare.

Three organizations are alleging that Bill Morneau is presuming the outcome of the national pharma-care study by voicing his opinion that he will support preserving the current drug insurance system that Canada has, instead of considering a new national plan.

Undermining Work

The three organizations are the Canadian Federation of Nurses, the Leaders of the Canadian Labour Congress and the Canadian Doctors for Medicare. They say that the Finance Minister’s comments not only contradict what they see as overwhelming evidence that a new national plan is the best step forward, but that his comments threaten to undermine all the work of the national pharmacare council before they even begin.

Letter Sent to Justin Trudeau

Morneau has defended himself, saying that he will make sure to listen to and respect the findings of the council and that his goal is to make sure that all Canadians have access to the medications they need.

The leaders of the Canadian Federation of Nurses, the Leaders of the Canadian Labour Congress and the Canadian Doctors for Medicare do not believe him though. In the letter they sent to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau they focused on remarks made by Morneau last week about his past connections to a family owned firm Morneau Shepell, which is the largest benefits provider in Canada. “With these deep ties to the private firm Morneau Shepell, we are concerned that the finance minister may not be approaching the issue of fundamental change in national drug insurance policies with an exclusive focus on evidence in the public interest,” said the organisation leaders in the letter to Trudeau.

Criticism

This is not the first time that Bill Morneau has faced criticism due to his ties to Morneau Shepell. It was revealed last fall that he did not put his holdings in the company into a blind trust after he was elected Finance Minister. He then spearheaded a pension reform bill that had direct links to Morneau Shepell. The Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer called for his resignation and is currently under formal review by the federal ethics commissioner.

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Benjamin Diaz

About the Author: Benjamin Diaz

Benjamin Diaz started working for Debate Report in 2017. Ben grew up in a small town in northern Ontario. He studied chemistry in college, graduated, and married his wife a year later. Benhas been a proud Torontonian for the past 10 years. He covers politics and the economy. Previously he wrote for CTV News and the Huffington Post Canada.

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