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Pharmacare deadline: Strategists weigh future of Liberal-NDP deal IG News

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NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh has “warned” the Liberals that the deal could be breached if they don’t provide a framework for pharma by March 1, a weekly panel of political strategists on CTV’s Question Period weigh in on the future of the parties’ confidence and supply agreement.

The deal, signed in the spring of 2022, sees the NDP supporting the Liberals until 2025 in exchange for progress on key policy issues like pharma.

The parties had initially set a deadline for the submission of framework pharmaceutical legislation for the end of last year, but in December pushed back that cut-off date to March 1.

This week, Singh said there would be “consequences” if the government did not meet the agreed timeline and that he believed it meant they had “reneged” on the confidence and supply pact.

Meanwhile, Health Secretary Mark Holland told CTV’s Question Period host Vassy Kapelos in an interview that aired Sunday that he has “absolute confidence” the federal government will be able to meet the pharma framework by the deadline.

He also said the confidence and supply agreement “absolutely” continues to serve the government and he doesn’t believe Canadians want them to “turn on that fire alarm.”

But Scott Reid — a political analyst for CTV News and former communications director for former prime minister Paul Martin — told Kapelos and the rest of CTV’s Question Period panel of strategists that the potential end of the supply-and-confidence deal doesn’t necessarily mean the end of the Liberal government.

“So if I were the Liberals, I think there’s an opportunity for them to walk away from this deal, walk away from an agenda that I think is actually starting to hurt them over time,” he said.

“It’s possible to say ‘look, you know what, pharmacare is a good idea, but we just can’t afford it at the moment,'” he added. “And it becomes a defining issue for the Liberals, they separate someone from the NDP, move back towards the middle, say no to a big spending program and instead talk about focusing on basic health care.”

Kory Teneycke, who was Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s campaign manager and former communications director for former Prime Minister Stephen Harper, told the commission he agreed with Reid.

Teneycke also predicted last December that 2024 could be the year the Liberals and NDP redefine the parameters of their agreement to be more of a bespoke partnership, and he still believes it’s an “advantage” for both sides. happen.

“But in particular, I think it’s good that the NDP is playing a little harder,” he said. “And I’ve always been puzzled that they’re focusing on pharma, because when you look at all the different problems we could have if we were NDP, that’s the least likely to me because the amount of voter support, because it’s tepid at best.”

“So I think it’s a weak question to tie so much of your program to being NDP, but hey, you’d be higher in the polls if you were smarter,” he added.

But Kathleen Monk, a former NDP strategist and director of communications under the late Jack Layton, said it’s still “very important” to many Canadians that the pharma business continues.

“These are things that are going to matter on the ground, and whether they increase popularity or boost opinion polls or are just real policy, those are two different questions,” Monk said.

She singled out liberal child care policies as another issue that might not necessarily drive massive poll numbers, but it was the right thing to do.

“So as this goes forward, the New Democrats are playing a little harder,” Monk said. “They’re saying, ‘hey, we’re not going to help you move your agenda through things like time allocation, committee work, until we see a bill that we think will meet our pharma needs.’


You can watch CTV’s entire Question Period Sunday strategy session in the video player at the top of this article.


With files from CTVNews.ca Senior Digital Parliamentary Reporter Rachel Aiello

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