Poilievre is on the attack, but Liberal-NDP agreement is still holding
Conservative federal party leader Pierre Poilievre has been trying to derail the agreement struck by the Liberals and NDP this year, decrying it on social media as a tax-and-spend “#costlycoalition” to the delight of his Twitter followers. But the Liberal-NDP deal has been delivering urgently needed help for Canadians and the outlook remains positive for further progress.
Pollsters have put Conservatives ahead of the governing Liberals since Pierre Poilievre was chosen as Conservative Party leader on September 10, with some surveys placing the Conservatives as much as seven points above the Liberals and potentially winning the most seats if an election were held today.
Despite Poilievre’s bump in the polls, Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government can still weather whatever storm the Conservatives can muster. Jagmeet Singh’s NDP will side with the government on crucial confidence votes in Parliament to keep the minority Liberals in power for three more budgets until June 2025, in exchange for the government delivering on over twenty commitments, including public dental care and universal pharmacare.
The Canadian Health Coalition welcomes the promise of new health care programs and has launched the Health and Hope 2025 campaign to help bring about the greatest expansion of public Medicare in more than a generation. The Health Coalition used a pre-budget meeting in Ottawa to urge Members of Parliament to pass Bill C-31 which provides a dental care subsidy for lower and middle-class families.
“Already, we are seeing the gains from parliamentary cooperation with Bill C-31 and the Dental Benefit Act, which it is estimated that 500,000 Canadian children will benefit from this targeted investment,” the Canadian Health Coalition told the Commons Standing Committee on Finance, praising the first legislation emanating from Confidence-and-Supply Agreement (CASA) between Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh.
The Conservatives voted against Bill C-31 on its First Reading on September 20, evoking a strong rebuke from the NDP and others who accused Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre of benefiting from his own Parliamentary Health Benefits while denying dental care to children.
Pierre Poilievre doesn't believe children under 12-years-old deserve Dental Care.— NDP (@NDP) September 28, 2022
But he does think you should pay for his Dental Care — benefits he's enjoyed for almost 20 years on the public dime.
He's not in it for you. pic.twitter.com/mwQTPdqnT6
C-31 passed its First Reading with Liberal and NDP support and is currently at the Second Reading stage, and the government wants to fast-track its passing. The legislation also contains the Rental Housing Benefit Act that provides a one-time $500 payment to low-income renters.
Separate legislation which doubles the GST credit, Bill C-30, was also negotiated by the NDP. Bill C-30 passed its final hurdle and received royal assent on October 18, 2022.
More politics ahead
The next few months approaching Budget 2023 in the Spring is sure to contain more political drama.
- Can the Liberals keep their promises to the NDP?
- Will the NDP judge the Liberals deserving of continued support for the next crucial vote?
- Might the Liberal-NDP agreement collapse due to political calculations?
As the Conservatives’ support climbs, so does the Liberals’ desire to avoid a potential election. This provides leverage to the NDP to press its other demands in the Liberal-NDP agreement. The Dental Benefit Act is an interim measure until a complete program can be put in place. Additionally, the promised Canada Pharmacare Act, legislation will significantly advance a long-sought universal pharmacare program in Canada.
While the political dynamic can change rapidly, at this moment it seems that there is still a good prospect of continued Liberal-NDP cooperation and continued expansion of public Medicare into 2023.