Analysis: Federal budget lays groundwork for possibility of free medicine

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Liberals also unveil new spending for Indigenous people, opioid crisis

By Jerrison Oracion, Senior Columnist


Since Justin Trudeau was elected Prime Minister, the country has seen significant economic developments such as the national unemployment rate decreasing. Now, the Liberal government has unveiled its 2018 federal budget.

Out of all the G7 countries, Canada is currently number one in economic growth, according to CBC News.

Minister of Finance Bill Morneau read a speech announcing the budget’s intention to fulfil more Liberal promises and made some surprise announcements. The federal budget this year is a gender-neutral budget which aims to fulfil promises of gender equality in the government.

The speech began with Morneau talking about his visit to Rose Avenue Junior Public School, and he related what the students told him should be put into the federal budget. He then summarized everything that the Liberal government claims to have accomplished since they formed government.

Morneau described the budget as “a plan that puts people first.”

He announced various things that will benefit women including equal pay in jobs that are in the public sector; a new feature in employment insurance called a parental sharing benefit, where parents can have five more weeks of leave when they have children; business mentorship programs designed to benefit women; and funding programs that will teach everyone about harassment in the workplace and how it can be reduced. Also, he announced the Canada Workers Benefit, which gives more money to employees and encourages them to keep on working.

He then announced that they will give more money to government scientists.

After that, Morneau announced funding that he said will improve the lives of Indigenous people by giving them more clean drinking water, more affordable housing, and more job opportunities. He also announced more funding for multiculturalism initiatives intended to reduce the amount of racism in the country, funding for cybersecurity, and funding intended to end the opioid crisis.

Next, Morneau announced the biggest news of the speech. He announced that there will be an advisory council led by Dr. Eric Hoskins to figure out what they will do about the cost of medicine. This means that in the next few years, medicine could potentially become available at zero cost to Canadian consumers. NDP MP Guy Caron said the budget does not have sufficient funding to reduce the costs of medicines, which is true, except that there will be an advisory council that will figure out what to do with that.

Also, because of the success of the national parks being free in celebration of Canada 150, the finance minister announced that childrens’ admission to parks will be permanently free and the Liberals will invest more money into preserving wildlife.


The Other Press

The Other Press, Douglas College's student newspaper since 1976. Articles, insight and updates from the New West and Coquitlam campuses.

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