(Ottawa) The leader of the New Democratic Party (NDP), Jagmeet Singh, puts his troops on election alert a few days after giving Justin Trudeau’s minority government until 1er March to introduce a bill aimed at laying the foundations for a national pharmacare program.
If this deadline is not respected, the agreement concluded almost two years ago between the NDP and the Trudeau government, which should ensure the survival of the Liberals in the House of Commons in principle until June 2025, will not hold. more.
To demonstrate that these remarks are not part of the register of political bluff, the leader of the NDP indicated to The Press Monday that he asked his party’s leadership last week to accelerate electoral preparations in the event that the Trudeau government lost a vote of confidence in the House of Commons – a vote that would have the effect of plunge the country into an electoral campaign.
“It’s not a bluff. We’re serious. I have the support of party members. They already sent a strong message during the last congress. I have the support of my team of deputies. The only reason we designed this agreement is to help people. This is our goal. And if the Liberals drag their feet again and break their promise, that’s enough. We no longer have patience for this,” Mr. Singh said during an interview in his office on Parliament Hill.
I am firm. I’ve been clear about what I need to see by the 1ster March. The ball is in the Liberals’ court. They are the ones who will decide if they will break their promise. And if they break their promise, the agreement no longer holds. There will be consequences.
Jagmeet Singh, leader of the NDP
Under this agreement, the NDP is committed to supporting the Liberal government during votes of confidence which relate in particular to the budget. In exchange, Justin Trudeau committed to implementing measures that are dear to the NDP. Among these, we find the creation of a national dental care program, which saw the light of day last year, and the national pharmacare program.
An electoral campaign in 2024?
The end of the agreement could also slow down the adoption of important bills for the Liberals. But the most important consequence could be the fall of the Liberal government and the holding of federal elections in 2024, Jagmeet Singh insisted.
For the first time in two years, the scenario of an electoral campaign in 2024 enters the vocabulary of the New Democratic leader. It is with this in mind that he asked his troops to put themselves on alert.
The Liberals are dragging their feet. They have been doing this on the drug insurance issue for almost 30 years. (…) Without an agreement, there are several possible consequences. This does not necessarily mean elections. But we are aware that it is a possibility.
Jagmeet Singh, leader of the NDP
In response to the ultimatum reiterated several times last week by NDP Leader Justin Trudeau and his Health Minister, Mark Holland, said talks between the two camps were progressing to the point where the Prime Minister said optimistic Friday that a compromise would be within reach.
Minister Holland made essentially the same speech on Sunday in an interview with the television show Question Period broadcast on the CTV network. He notably declared that he did not feel the need to activate the alarm bells. “I am therefore confident that we will be able to find a solution and that the bill will be tabled before the deadline,” said Mr. Holland.
A different reading at the NDP
Clearly, Mr. Singh does not have the same reading of the talks. In an interview, he questioned the Liberals’ real desire to create a drug insurance plan which, ultimately, could cost some $13 billion per year, according to calculations by the Parliamentary Budget Officer.
As an example, the NDP leader noted that lobbyists from large pharmaceutical companies met with Trudeau government ministers some 150 times over the last nine months. “Liberals continue to prioritize the interests of these big corporations over those of ordinary people. »
For nine months, polls have given Pierre Poilievre’s Conservative Party a large lead in intentions across the country over Justin Trudeau’s Liberals. A poll by the firm Abacus Data published Sunday gave 43% to the Conservative Party, 24% to the Liberal Party and 18% to the NDP. In Quebec, the Bloc Québécois comes first with 34%, compared to 26% for the Conservative Party, 25% for the Liberal Party and 8% for the NDP.