Liberals agree to launch dental program in exchange for NDP support


The Liberals agreed to launch a new dental care program for low-income Canadians and advance a number of other NDP priorities in return for their support to sustain the government until 2025.

“We agreed to work together,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said at a news conference Tuesday morning.

“It’s about focusing on what we agree on, rather than what we disagree on.”

According to a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office detailing the grounds for the agreement, the proposed dental program would start with under-12s in 2022, then expand to under-18s, seniors and people living with disabilities. in 2023. Full implementation would be rolled out in 2025.

The dental program, a key part of the NDP’s last two campaign platforms, would be limited to families with incomes below $90,000 a year, with no co-pays for anyone under $70,000 a year, a said the government.

The Parliamentary Budget Officer costed the NDP’s dental plan during the 2019 campaign. At the time, Singh promised that a New Democrat government would cover a wide range of preventive and restorative services, including examinations, cleanings, fluoride treatments, X-rays, filings, crowns, root canals and treatments for gum disease, as well as the cost of dentures and orthodontic appliances for non-cosmetic purposes.

The Parliamentary Budget Officer estimated the cost for the first partial fiscal year would be $560 million and rise to $1.884 billion in the following fiscal year – a “one-time” increase due to untreated oral disease. The Parliamentary Budget Officer said that after this point the program would cost about $830 million a year, rising to $856 million.

The deal would also see Canadian pharmacare legislation passed by the end of 2023 to task the National Medicines Agency with developing a national essential medicines formulary and bulk procurement plan by the end of 2023. the end of the agreement.

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On housing, another key issue for the NDP, the government agreed to extend the Rapid Housing Initiative — a program to create new affordable housing for vulnerable people and populations — for another year and consider changing the definition of affordable housing.

While the Liberals have signed multiple child care agreements with the provinces, the NDP is calling on them to introduce early learning and child care legislation by the end of 2022 to enshrine these agreements in the law and to ensure that they have long-term benefits. protected funding favoring associative and public spaces.

“We want it to be like Medicare,” said a New Democrat source with knowledge of the deal.

‘We agreed to work together’: Trudeau

The confidence and supply agreement was presented to NDP MPs for a vote late Monday evening. Under such arrangements, an opposition party pledges to support the government on specific measures under specific conditions and not to vote to overthrow the government for a period of time.

This is not a coalition deal – no NDP MPs will sit at the Cabinet table.

This agreement will come into force on Tuesday and will last until the adjournment of Parliament in 2025, allowing four budgets and avoiding an election.

Under the deal, the NDP agreed to support the government on confidence and budget issues and would not propose votes of no confidence during the term of the arrangement. New Democrats would also support certain programming motions aimed at passing laws that both parties agree on.

“We’re not going to let the Liberals off the hook,” NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said at his own press conference on Tuesday.

“If they don’t stick to what we’ve agreed to, this deal doesn’t continue.”

The two sides agreed that leaders would meet once a quarter, that House leaders would meet regularly, and that they would hold monthly “check-in” meetings by a watchdog group of staff and politicians.

“It means that in this time of uncertainty, government can operate with predictability and stability, present and implement budgets, and get things done for Canadians,” Trudeau said.

Discuss an agreement between the two parties emerged shortly after the last election, although at the time, sources from both sides said there was no actual proposal on the table.

Conservatives call it a ‘power grab’

The Conservatives and the Bloc see it differently.

“Canadians woke up this morning realizing they had been cheated and cheated by their Prime Minister. Now let me be clear, this is nothing more than a Justin Trudeau power grab” , said interim Conservative leader Candice Bergen. said Tuesday morning.

“He clings desperately to power. His No. 1 goal, as we’ve seen over the past six years, is always to do what’s best for him, not to do what’s best for Canadians.

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Bloc Québécois leader Yves-Francois Blanchet, in a separate press conference, called it a “false majority.”

Speculation about Trudeau staying on beyond 2025 swirled in political circles when news of the deal broke Monday night.

On Tuesday morning, Trudeau tried to put an end to the speculation. “As I have said many times, I plan to continue to serve Canadians during and after the next election,” he said.

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