March 4, 2018 11:09 am
Updated: March 4, 2018 1:47 pm

Andrew Scheer slams ‘import’ of minister from Wynne cabinet for pharmacare council

Conservative Party leader Andrew Scheer tells Eric Sorensen the government needs to give people more details on their proposed pharmacare program announced in the budget last week and that he is committed to balancing the budget in a reasonable timeframe if he becomes prime minister.

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Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer says importing a minister from Kathleen Wynne’s Ontario government to run a special advisory council on national pharmacare was a mistake.

In an interview with Eric Sorensen on this weekend’s edition of The West Block, Scheer slammed Ottawa’s decision to poach Dr. Eric Hoskins from Wynne’s cabinet last week.

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READ MORE: Some (lesser-known) budget highlights, from Pharmacare to service dogs

The now-former minister of health will be tasked with leading a panel that will begin “a national dialogue” on Pharmacare and eventually recommend “options on how to move forward together.” Finance Minister Bill Morneau has signalled that the program would likely be means-tested rather than universal.

“I don’t believe that the Kathleen Wynne government has managed anything very well,” said Scheer, when asked about the pharmacare proposal.

“What Kathleen Wynne has done to Ontario is bad enough. We don’t need a liberal government exporting that to other provinces around the country. We don’t even know what it is that they’re proposing.”

India affair explodes in QP

Scheer had a banner week in Question Period as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau attempted to fend off criticism surrounding his recent trip to India. The Conservatives have zeroed in on background briefings provided to the media during the trip by an official they’ve identified as Trudeau’s national security advisor, Daniel Jean.

WATCH: Scheer hammers Trudeau over Atwal affair, accusations against India

During those conversations, including one with Global News, a theory was floated suggesting that the appearance of a convicted attempted murderer – Jaspal Atwal – at a reception attended by Trudeau was no accident, but possibly arranged by unnamed factions in India to embarrass the prime minister.

Scheer said that if Trudeau believes that could be the case, he needs to offer evidence to back it up. Otherwise, he should apologize to India’s government.

READ MORE: Indian government blasts ‘baseless’ suggestion it orchestrated Jaspal Atwal presence during Trudeau visit

“(The prime minister’s office) used the national security agency basically as a communications tool to change the channel on an embarrassing week,” Scheer said, noting that the government has resisted efforts to have Jean testify before a Parliamentary committee.

“(There are ) very strange things going on, so I was very passionate about this this week because I believe that the prime minister is acting very irresponsibly, putting our relations with India in real jeopardy.”

Poll shows Conservative surge

Scheer also told Sorensen that over the past few months, he feels he’s found his footing as leader of the Official Opposition. A recent poll, conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs on behalf of Global News, contained good news for Scheer’s party, showing their support surging in the wake of Trudeau’s trip to India and the recent federal budget.

The poll indicated that the Conservatives would win an election with 38 per cent of the vote if it were held tomorrow. The Liberals emerged with 33 per cent support, down five points since December.

“As you settle into a role, as you take more Question Periods and deliver more speeches, there certainly is – for me anyway – a feeling that I’ve improved some of my communications techniques,” Scheer said.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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