Budget 2017: Disappointing for British Columbians’ Health


OTTAWA  – British Columbians struggling with rising prescriptions costs, addictions and home care got little in the Federal Liberal budget released today, said Don Davies, the New Democrat Critic for Health.

“Canada is the only country in the world with universal medicare that does not have some form of universal drug coverage, and the Health Minister’s Mandate Letter clearly tasked her with reducing Canadians’ drug costs,” Davies said. “Yet this Budget doesn’t say a word about pharmacare, and it allocates only $28 million per year to reduce Canadians’ drug costs.

“That’s less than a dollar a day for each Canadian, which is clearly insufficient to address this problem.”

Davies also expressed great disappointment that there is not a single dollar devoted to combat the emergency opioid crisis.

“Even though Canada is facing a national health crisis with thousands dying from opioid overdoses, this Budget allocates precisely zero to fighting this epidemic,” Davies said. “That is flabbergasting and a particular failure for British Columbians who stand at the epicentre of this crisis.”

The Budget also confirms the Liberals’ broken promise to invest $3 billion over their mandate to deal with home care and palliative care.  Budget 2017 reveals the Liberals will invest only $2.25 billion over their mandate, with most of the money back-loaded into future years.

“The numbers are in, and the facts are now clear:  the Liberals are a year late and 30% short of their commitment on homecare,” said Davies.  “With an aging population, this delay will be increasingly damaging  in the years to come.”

Davies called Budget 2017 the “Backload Budget” for its comprehensive deferral of spending into the future – much of it beyond the Liberals’ current mandate.

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