As we previously reported on, Halifax hosted the Liberal National Convention this past week. Party members voted on proposed resolutions that should become official party policy and guide future policy decisions. However, technically these resolutions are nonbinding, and because Justin Trudeau and party elite are not proponents of some of the resolutions, they may not be included in the 2019 platform. The outcome of the convention clearly shows a left-leaning, forward-thinking young Liberal membership hungry for drugs reform. Among the resolutions passed were:
- Address the Opioid Crisis through a Public Health Approach
- Implementing Universal Access to Necessary Medicines
- Inclusion of Mental Health Services in Medicare and the Canada Health Act
Decriminalization of small possession of all illicit drugs
Despite being one of the most popular resolutions to pass, the proposition for decriminalizing small amounts of illicit drugs was flatly dismissed by the Prime Minister immediately following the convention. The Health Minister was inline with the PM, saying the Portugal Model of decriminalization could not work in Canada. While the Justice Minister did say the government had no plans to institute widespread decriminalization, she was open to listening to the arguments for decriminalization of small amounts of illicit substances.
As Edmonton Centre MP Randy Boissonnault commented, universal prescription coverage has been on the Liberal docket some twenty years. A resounding yes vote on this shows that the Liberal membership wants universal pharmacare, whether its likely to come about soon is questionable though. The Canadian public would save billions annually on prescription costs, while it is estimated the government would spend an additional 7 bil to accommodate. Trudeau seems hesitant on any resolution that requires loosening the purse strings. This seems to be yet another member-supported progressive policy that has proven success in other countries, but that may not see the light of the 2019 election platform. We will continue reporting on the progress from propositions to actual policy as the lead up to the 2019 election continues.
- Pharmacare, Decriminalizing Drugs and Mental Health Services Top Priorities for Grassroots Liberals
- Liberal Leadership and Grassroots Members Appear to be on a Different Path at Policy Convention: Chris Hall
- Liberal MP Still Wants Drugs Decriminalized Despite Health Minister’s Objection
- Liberal Caucus Supports Decriminalization