The federal government promises that a new bill that will tackle several affordability issues will be introduced “shortly.”
MPs returned to Ottawa on Monday for the resumption of work in the House of Commons after a summer break during which the ruling minority Liberals slipped in the polls while the opposition Conservatives gained ground.
Polls suggest the Conservatives would do a better job on affordability and housing; Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre spent the summer traveling the country, hammering the government on economic issues and presenting his own plan to cut costs and build more housing.
Housing Minister Sean Fraser joined Government House Leader Karina Gould in Ottawa on Monday to outline the government’s priorities for the fall session.
“This fall, our government is focusing on affordability,” Fraser told reporters.
Gould hinted that a bill would be coming “shortly” that would address several affordability issues.
“When it comes to housing, groceries, the Competition Act… it will be presented to the House of Commons shortly,” she said.
“This will be a comprehensive bill tied to the Prime Minister’s announcement on Thursday and will meet the current needs of Canadians. This builds on the very good work that parliamentarians have done over the past year.
Last Thursday, after a three-day retreat from the Liberal caucus, Justin Trudeau announced a series of measures to provide relief to Canadians, including directing Canada’s five largest grocery companies to develop a plan by Thanksgiving to stabilize the costs. The Liberals have the idea of forcing them to do so through tax measures if their plan is not sufficient.
Additionally, the Liberals also said they would take steps to give the Competition Bureau the power to take action against companies that work together to stifle consumer choice – notably citing large grocery stores that have prevented their competitors to settle nearby.
But most of the measures announced Thursday related to housing, with Ottawa pledging to eliminate the GST on the construction of new rental apartment buildings — a measure Trudeau first promised during the 2015 election that carried the Liberals in power.
The measure would reduce the cost of labor and materials for home builders, the Liberals said.
“I want to rea*sure people that whether the law is announced today or a week from now, the solution will be retroactive to the date of the announcement,” Fraser said Monday.
“There is no loss to the construction industry due to the timing of the bill as they can continue with projects knowing that the change will be implemented from September 14.”
Fraser acknowledged “a number of different challenges” impacting the housing sector and those desperate for a place to call home.
“By talking with experts, engaging with communities and truly listening to the concerns of ordinary people, we can identify solutions to the specific problems that have caused Canada’s housing shortage and housing crisis,” he said. he declares.
The upcoming pharmacare bill
Gould promised Monday that a long-awaited national pharmacare bill would be introduced this session.
“We look forward to debating this bill in the House, on all sides, but we do not believe that those who oppose pharmacare should be allowed to block it through deliberate political obstruction in the House. Room,” she said.
In fashion now
“We believe the bill should receive a final vote in the House before Christmas. Canadians deserve to see real action on pharmacare, not political roadblocks, and we call on all MPs to engage in constructive, collaborative and thoughtful debate on our plans, but we will not allow selfish and partisan approach to getting in the way of results for Canadians. »
The timing of the pharmacare bill coincides with an earlier request from NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh.
Singh, whose party signed a confidence and supply agreement with the Liberals in March 2022 to support minority government in key votes until 2025, said earlier this year he would consider it a break if Ottawa failed to present and adopt the agreement. pharmacare bill this year.
“We want to see a national framework presented to Parliament and adopted by Parliament before the end of the year,” Singh said on January 19.
“It’s something we fought for in the deal, we negotiated and we hope to achieve it.”
The agreement stipulates that a bill on drug insurance must be tabled by the end of 2023 and that a “National Medicines Agency” will be responsible for “developing a national formulary of essential medicines and a plan bulk purchase by the end of the agreement.
“If they don’t follow through on what we’ve forced them to agree to, then we have the power or the opportunity to withdraw our support,” Singh said at the time.
Gould said Monday the government has been able to offer “really amazing things to Canadians” through the deal, including child care, housing allowances and national dental care.
“Pharmaceutical coverage is something that we liberals have been seeking to advance for a long time,” she said.
“We are pleased to have this partnership with the NDP to bring real, tangible benefits to Canadians that improve their lives.
— with files from The Canadian Press
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