Leaders Promise Vaccine Passport Funding, EI Benefit Extensions, and Universal Pharmacare

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Party leaders focused on vaccination mandates, employee benefits, and universal pharmacare on the 13th day of the federal election campaign.

In Mississauga, Ont., on Aug. 27, Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau announced that his party would create a $1 billion COVID-19 proof-of-vaccination fund. If provinces and territories choose to create their own vaccine passport system requiring residents to show proof of full vaccination when they visit restaurants, gyms, or other non-essential services, the Liberal government will “pay for the development and rollout of that program,” Trudeau said.

While campaigning in Corner Brook, NL, on Aug. 27, Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole promised to “stand up for workers and their health” by extending Employment Insurance sickness benefits for seriously ill workers from 26 weeks to 52 weeks, as workers’ benefits usually run out after 26 weeks while battling life-threatening diseases like cancer.

During a campaign stop in Thunder Bay, Ont., on Aug. 27, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh pledged to create a universal pharmacare program. The NDP said in a press release that they will expand health care to make prescription drug coverage free for all Canadians and will work with the provinces to see their proposed pharmacare program delivered in 2022.

Green Party Leader Annamie Paul’s Aug. 26 call for federal leaders to suspend their campaigns for 24 hours to jointly focus on Afghanistan now that Canada’s evacuation efforts have ceased was ignored, as thousands of Canadian nationals, Afghan support staff, and their families remain trapped there. On the Green Party’s website, Paul described the situation as “truly one of our lowest moments as a country.”

In an Aug. 26 tweet, People’s Party of Canada Leader Maxime Bernier responded to media requests for a list of PPC candidates who are women, POC, or LGBTQ2S+ by saying that the party sees its candidates as “individual Canadians” and not “members of categories.” Bernier also stressed that PPC candidates are not subject to screening based on their skin colour or the gender they identify with.

Isaac Teo

Isaac is a reporter based in Toronto.

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