• Making "Universal Medicare" Universal: Calling for a National Pharmacare Strategy
    In our clinical experiences we regularly see patients burdened by the cost of medicines and unable to fill their prescriptions. We know how aware of this you are from your medical practice too. We are shocked by how medication costs are determined in Canada. Canadian physicians, residents, and medical students expect healthcare policy in this country to be evidence-based, and we have placed our trust in you to do this. We have the evidence now that a National Pharmacare Strategy would be cost effective, eliminating a long standing barrier to implementation – the belief that a universal publicly funded pharmacare plan would be too expensive. The landmark 2015 article published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal builds on an already robust literature base articulating the need for a National Pharmacare Strategy. The findings of this cost-benefit analysis are that universal public drug coverage would reduce total spending on prescription drugs in Canada by an estimated $7.3 billion [link to study]. Citizens need provincial and federal buy-in for a pan-Canadian solution. As you have said, we need to do things differently. We need to bargain more effectively and revisit our relationship with Big Pharma, not accepting price inflations that are then offloaded onto third party insurers and out of pocket payers. We need to purchase smarter through national bulk purchasing strategies in order to secure lower, more reasonable drug prices. We need to use the best available evidence under the guidance of objective academic drug detailing programs and harness our purchasing power to bring costs down. During the election, as doctors of tomorrow we sought federal leadership that would return to undertaking pan-Canadian healthcare responsibilities. We have new CMA leadership from a long-serving rural physician, Dr. Granger Avery who, at the Canada 2020 Summit on a new Health Accord reiterated the need for a National Pharmacare Strategy. The CMA has identified that Universal Pharmacare is an integral component of a high performing system that cannot be ignored; it is a tenet underpinning every area of healthcare and would have the most substantial impact of any changes made to our system. With the billions saved, funds could be redirected towards home care, care of the elderly, care of Indigenous populations, and comprehensive mental health services. Consistent with the universality and equitable accessibility promised by the Canada Health Act, a National Pharmacare Strategy would be the epitome of action to fulfill Prime Minister Trudeau’s words of establishing strong national unity. As you have said, the last time a doctor was the Minister of Health was perhaps nearly a century ago. We appreciate your efforts to take steps towards lowering costs that Canadians face for their medications. This includes working to install regulatory changes to the way drug prices are set in Canada, and working with the Patented Medicine Prices Review Board. It is actionable steps like this that will pave the way toward Universal Pharmacare in our future. Yet, in order to most effectively move towards a goal, it needs to be stated with clarity and conviction. The current medico-political climate is unique, Dr. Philpott. We have informed physicians in leadership roles with awareness of evidence, relationship-building capacities to forge new alliances, and abilities to mobilize changemakers. We need to be bold and “think big” to make real change happen. Thus, we urge you to draw on your courage, seize this critical time in our Canadian history and commit to a National Pharmacare Strategy. If you don’t, who will? #makecanadianuniversalmedicareuniversal Visit a recent CBC Fifth Estate episode on Canada's Drug Problem (http://www.cbc.ca/fifth/episodes/2016-2017/the-high-cost-of-phamaceuticals-canadas-drug-problem) and Minister Philpott's full interview (http://www.cbc.ca/fifth/blog/full-interview-with-minister-of-health-jane-philpott). See http://pharmacare2020.ca/ for additional information. Additional Reading: - Canada is the only country in the world that prides itself on universal healthcare, yet contradictorily does not have universal medication access. Canada has 19 publicly funded drug plans and over 1000 private insurance programs: a fragmented, non-equitable patchwork that leaves many uncovered. We spend 30% more on drugs than nations with Universal Pharmacare programs! - Canadians spend more than $700 US per capita for prescription, non-prescription, and personal health supplies, whereas the average per capita expenditure for OECD countries is $500. - In a recent Angus Reid Institute national survey nearly 1 in 4 Canadians did not take a prescribed medicine because she/he could not afford it. Food and shelter costs undermine medication costs when it comes to day-to-day survival. Inadequately treated chronic disease inevitably decompensates. Hospital admission for acute disease management then culminates in hefty inpatient costs. - Our generic drug prices are dependent on patented drug prices, established as the median of seven comparator OECD nations. This list includes the four places on the globe where drugs are most expensive. - Prices for the same medicines vary depending on province or territory of residence. In order to make drug prices more appealing to provincial and territorial governments, pharmaceutical companies artificially inflate prices to present the government with a “discount price,” whilst channeling the cost burden to third party insurers (10% higher costs compared to government costs) and most significantly to out of pocket purchasers, many of whom are the working poor. - Take the price of the common cholesterol medication, atorvastatin, which is cheapest in Ontario and costs 31 cents. Compare this to that same pill in New Zealand, which costs 2.6 cents!
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    Created by Dr. Kurt Deschner
  • Dear Trudeau: Stand up to Trump
    On Monday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will be sitting down to meet with President Trump. I’m a mom, a highschool teacher and a Leadnow member. I started this open letter because I’m really worried that Trudeau won’t have the courage to stand up to Trump. Let’s urge Trudeau to set a courageous example for our children -- showing them how to stand up to bullies like Trump. Trudeau might ignore a letter from one teacher like me -- but if thousands of us add out names, we can get Trudeau’s attention and convince him to stand up to Trump on Monday Sources: [1] Donald Trump says he believes waterboarding works (BBC News). http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-38753000 [2] A travel ban that descended into chaos, protests: What we know (CNN). http://www.cnn.com/2017/01/29/politics/immigration-crisis-what-we-know/ [3] Climate change denial in the Trump cabinet: where do his nominees stand? (The Guardian). https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/dec/15/trump-cabinet-climate-change-deniers
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  • Deny Sarah Palin from Becoming US Ambassador to Canada
    Govenor Palin has demonstrated a history of ignorance and intolerance to those social justice values and principals of diversity and acceptance so fundamentally held and defended by Canadians. Her representation in Canada would be a great disservice and likely weaken the long and valuable relationship held between Canada and the United States.
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  • Tell Christy Clark: Fire the Minister of Children and Family Development
    Stephanie Cadieux is the Minister of Children and Family Development in British Columbia, the longest serving Minister in the Cabinet of Premier Christy Clark. She oversees a file that is extremely important to the province, as it governs ensuring the well-being of BC children, responding to signs of abuse, and helping families in crisis. On every level, Minister Cadieux has failed her mandate - many times over, in fact. You need only Google "Stephanie Cadieux" and "abuse" and you will find page after page of horrific cases where the Minister has been accused of failing to protect children from both physical and sexual abuse, both by foster families and by parents. If you Google "Stephanie Cadieux" and "suicide" you will find equally tragic stories of how the Minister and her department failed to prevent the suicide of children in crisis, while under Ministry care. A recent report by BC's Youth Advocate stated that as Minister, Cadieux has failed to prevent the physical and sexual abuse of more than 250 children! These aren't isolated cases, as new ones have continued to arise during Cadieux's four-year tenure. And yet Premier Christy Clark has refused time and again calls for her to relieve Cadieux of her position! Children, especially vulnerable children in terrible conditions, deserve a Minister that will protect them! Enough is enough! Stephanie Cadieux has to go!
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  • Increase the Social Determinants of Health for First Nations
    First Nations communities need adequate housing, clean water, access to healthy food, access to health care, improved education and childhood development and reduced racism.
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  • Stop sensationalizing violence against women
    - The very existence of this play is re-traumatizing the friends, families, and communities who were affected by this tragedy. - In response to the theatre company's comments that they respect our choice not to see the play – it is being publicized via various news and social media outlets, where many have been exposed to without their choosing – further traumatizing - CONSENT. The women we lost here did not consent to this. Nor did their families. - The company is arguing the play is intended to create awareness of the issue of violence against women. Yet, written by a male. Men telling stories of male violence does not help women. This is an amplification and exploitation of violent acts.
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  • Build Accessible Low-cost Housing
    A single person on Persons with Disabilities Allowance in BC is paid $983.42. Considering that the cheapest studio or one bedroom apartment is at least $800 to $900 per month, this leaves no money to live on. In addition, if someone has special needs, like wheelchair accessibility, this limits the housing market even more. My niece has a spinal cord injury and cannot work, She has no other resources besides her PWD Allowance. She has been sharing with a friend who has been covering additional costs but her friend is now getting married and my niece has been given notice. She is desperate to find someplace to live that can accommodate her needs.
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  • Doors open for the Homeless
    People die in the street when shelters are full. The homeless who have dogs often have no place to go because they will not abandon their best friend. Many shelters will not accept animals. It is cruelly cold outside. We need to do better for our citizens, and their furry companions. There is room at night in community centres. Why are they locked against those members of the community who are down on their luck? They are human beings. And their animal companions are part of their humanity. Make community space truly for the community, including those who need a hand up.
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  • More support for all struggling Canadians
    There are people all across this great nation living with issues of depression, poor nutrition and uncertain shelter conditions. The political leaders and the heads of big business seem to be confused about how to resolve these issues that have plagued this country for decades. Are they confused or just content with dragging their feet? I propose that we act on what we know from the research of these matters and redirect the allocated funds through groups that have strategies that will achieve results . Our PM has stated that our government wishes to assist the less fortunate in their efforts to join the middle class. I propose we get this accomplished now ! People are hurting ! Our indigenous northern neighbors , the homeless and thousands of families, not able to get necessary care for their children, have been waiting too long. It has been said that a child in other parts of the world can be supported for less than a dollar a day . Our concern is why is it more expensive in Canada ? We have the technology and resources to grow good food in abundance. In any climate, throughout the land. We can utilize some local land, build greenhouses and employ the best growing techniques to alter our food future. There will be start-up costs. They will be insignificant when compared to the long term benefits. Together, working through the start-up challenges. We can look forward to an affordable, bountiful harvest year round. CONGRATULATIONS : To the people of Medicine Hat AB. for they're response to this problem by implementing the "Thrive" initiative to end poverty in that city by 2030 !!! We have a plan. For more information, please contact myself directly. Have a great day ! Thanks for your interest and support. Heith Moonie email: hgmposreset2011@hotmail.ca
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  • Protect the Heart of Vancouver's Chinatown!
    Chinatown is under siege. A proposed market rate development on 105 Keefer Street threatens the cultural and economic fabric of Chinatown. “Our Chinatown is being bought up by developers. What’s going to be left in Chinatown for people like me when the dust settles?” protested Ivy Su, a resident in the neighbourhood. Ms. Su’s concerns are real. Vancouver Chinatown was not-so-honoured to be designated a Top 10 Endangered Places List according to the National Trust for Canada. Intense market development pressure has pushed small businesses out and housing costs up. Chinatown is really under siege. And now, to add insult to injury, Beedie Group proposes desecrating the cultural heart of Vancouver Chinatown with a dominating luxury high rise development at 105 Keefer Street. How is the 105 Keefer site at the heart of Vancouver Chinatown? It is surrounded by the culturally significant Chinese-Canadian war veterans and railway workers monument, the Chinese Cultural Centre and the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden. The site is close to the National Historic Site where important heritage buildings such as the Chinese Benevolent Association and the Chinese Freemasons are located. A luxury market development at this site would violate/disrespect Chinatown's distinct character as well as the livelihoods of the people living here. Gentrification is already severely overrunning the entire Downtown Eastside and the plan by the Beedie Group to build a complex at 105 Keefer will only worsen this problem, which we and groups dedicated to saving Chinatown have been battling against for the past few years. On the contrary, Chinatown residents and organizations are proposing the site be used for low-income seniors housing and an intergenerational community space. Ms. Su offers a brighter future: “We hope that the government will purchase the land to provide housing for us so that we are not without homes”. Ms. Su continues, “We’ve seen Chinatown change so much over the past years, but the changes are overwhelmingly for the higher income people moving in. We need more developments that meet our needs for affordable housing and for spaces to socialize with each other.” We can’t afford to lose more of our precious Chinatown! (Photo Credits: Christina Lee)
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  • Allow voting at age 16
    WHEREAS the Election Act of British Columbia presently prohibits individuals under 18 from participating in the electoral process; WHEREAS early engagement in civic affairs is believed to lead to the establishment of a pattern of engagement that endures throughout life; WHEREAS the 2011 report of the Chief Electoral Officer of BC recognized that "The lowest voter registration rates are for young voters 18-24 years of age"; WHEREAS by the age of 15, BC residents are legally permitted to be employed on a full-time basis in accordance with the Employment Standards Act; WHEREAS by the age of 16, BC residents may apply for a license to operate a motor vehicle on a public highway; BE IT RESOLVED that the residents of British Columbia call upon the governing party to adopt as a policy that the age of eligibility to be an elector in future provincial elections be lowered from (18) to sixteen (16) years.
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  • Kellie Leitch, stop using intolerance and racism for political gain
    What are Canadian values and who defines them? Are we a country where everyone has to think and act the same, or are we a country where we accept tolerance and difference? Are we a country that takes it's strength from division or from diversity? Kellie Leitch is now using intolerance and racism to make political gain in her bid to become the next leader of the Conservative Party. She's asking her supporters whether immigrants should be screened for anti-Canadia values -- I would like her to answer, which "Canadian values" are these? Canada was built by immigrants coming from diverse places ranging from England, to Ethiopia to Indonesia. It's home to all kinds of cultures, values and religions. And let's not forget that it's also built on a legacy of colonialism that stripped First Nations of their land, communities and culture. There is no such thing as 'Canadian values' that are universal to all. People like me, a self-identified socialist from Latin America will have inherently different values from an oil executive in Calgary. Does that make me any more or less Canadian than the oil executive? If she's ever in power, which values will Kellie Leitch uphold? Will immigrants have to give up fights for indigenous rights? Will people like me have to give up my opposition to Canada's fossil fuel industry? Will Palestinians have to give up their struggle for a free Palestine? Will we be forced to support Canada's colonial legacy? Will immigrants be forced to dress a certain way? The moment we start accepting or rejecting immigrants based on their values, is the moment we've lost the Canadian dream. Canada will stop being a place where people can come find safety and acceptance, and instead be a place where their culture and values will be constantly at odds with others. This kind of campaigning on racism and intolerance does nothing but divide our country, create fear and, ultimately, make us all less safe. Join me in calling on Kellie Leitch to step down from the CPC leadership race and commit to stop using racism and intolerance for political gain.
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