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NDP promises universal pharmacare, mental health supports in first mandate, if elected

ndp promises universal pharmacare mental health supports in first mandate if elected

If elected, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh is promising to bring in universal prescription drug coverage, dental care and mental health supports within his first mandate.

This morning the federal party released a list of commitments focusing on health care and affordability, which is expected to form the backbone of its campaign platform.

The document signals the party’s long-term vision, but a party spokesperson speaking on background said they believe universal prescription drug coverage, dental care and mental health care for the uninsured is doable within the first mandate.

“It will take longer to realize the full vision,” the spokesperson said. “If we started earlier like in 2019, 2015, we’d be further along.”

The commitments document doesn’t contain a costing breakdown on its promises, so it’s not clear how much the fourth-place party’s promises would cost.

During a technical briefing with reporters before the release, a party official said they plan on working with the Parliamentary Budget Officer to estimate what it will cost to implement their proposals. 

Some previously announced promises, such universal prescription drug coverage, were costed in the 2019 election but could have risen.

To cover some of the proposed programs, the party said it would bring in a one per cent tax on households with wealth of more than $10 million. A party official said it would bring in as much as $10 billion a year to then be invested in services.

Another revenue source would be a promised temporary COVID-19 excess profit tax that puts an additional 15 per cent tax on large corporations that recorded major profits during the pandemic. 

As part of its health-care plank, the party says a New Democrat government would bring in mental health care for uninsured Canadians so that people without such coverage would be able to seek out help.

It’s one of the big-ticket items, along with making post-secondary education part of Canada’s public education system, that would require buy-in from the provinces. 

A party official said the pandemic proved that provinces are willing to work with Ottawa across party lines.

Other promises include:

  • $10-a-day child care.
  • Reintroducing 30-year terms to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation insured mortgages on entry-level homes for first-time home buyers. 
  • Creating at least half a million units of affordable housing in the next 10 years.
  • Guaranteed livable income for all Canadians. 
  • A price cap on cell phone bills.
  • Continuing wage and rent subsidies for small businesses as the pandemic continues.

Singh and a handful of NDP candidates are scheduled to take questions on the plan during a news conference at 9:30 a.m. ET in St. John’s.

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