PC MPs are first targets of Alberta pharmacare lobby

Two Progressive Conservative MPs in Alberta were separately met by representatives of the Alberta Pharmacare Working Group (APWG) last week, as a first step to convince all Alberta MPs to support the implementation of a universal prescription medication plan by 2020 — one that covers everyone, regardless of their income, age, or where they live.

APWG members meet MP Kevin Sorenson

APWG Members in Camrose met with Conservative MP Kevin Sorenson for Battle River – Crowfoot. L to R: Donica Geddes (United Nurses (UNA) Alberta Central District Rep); MP Kevin Sorenson; Judith Basisty (Global Foundation for Social Harmony & Sustainable Development); and Lucien Royer (President of Alberta Federation of Union Retirees (AFUR)).

MP Kevin Sorenson met in Camrose with riding constituents from AFUR, UNA and Global Foundation, while MP Pat Kelly met in Calgary with his constituents from CURC Area Council and SUN.

Both MPs showed support in principle for pharmacare, while expressing reserve about its cost and universal application, despite evidence provided them showing that a national program would save over 30 billion dollars nationally.

MP Pat Kelly

APWG Members in Calgary met with Conservative Pat Kelly, MP for Calgary – Rocky Ridge.

While Pat Kelly indicated an openness to learning more about pharmacare, Kevin Sorenson went further to question the need for its universal application, instead arguing for separately dealing with 20% of Canadians that he said have little or no coverage. Sorenson alluded to the possibility that such an approach might become the national PC party policy on the issue, leading up to the federal election next year.

In handing over a special information package produced by the Friends of Medicare (FOM), APWG reps at the meetings highlighted that 92% of Albertans supported a universal program and that an increasing number of workers, seniors and other sectors from their ridings will look for commitments from all political parties to chime in for instituting a plan.

Collin Anderson

Collin Anderson is the President of CURC Calgary Area Council.

Alanna Hargan

Alanna Hargan is a Director of Seniors United Now (SUN) in Calgary & Executive member of the CURC Calgary Area Council.

Last month an all-party parliamentary committee recommended an expansion of the Canada Health Act to include prescription drugs dispensed outside of hospital settings. It argued that the option of reforming the system to plug the gaps between public and private plans for wider coverage would not work, and ruled in favor of a single-payer universal drug plan.




For further information on AFUR and the Pharmacare Campaign contact:

Lucien Royer, AFUR at 780-991-2264 or e-mail
Judy Lederer, CURC – Edmonton at 780-434-1690 or e-mail

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