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Pharmacare, military sexual misconduct among vows absent in Trudeau throne speech

Click to play video: 'What’s different and what’s missing from the Trudeau government’s throne speech' What’s different and what’s missing from the Trudeau government’s throne speech
WATCH: From COVID-19 to climate change, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government offered mostly the same old promises during the throne speech. Mercedes Stephenson looks at Trudeau's strategy, what priorities were missing, and whether opposition parties will work with the government – Nov 23, 2021

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau‘s throne speech offered a vision heavily centred on the continued fight against COVID-19, reconciliation and the cost of living — but also left out mention of a number of promises on high-profile issues.

Delivered by Gov. Gen Mary Simon on Tuesday, the 2021 throne speech laid out in broad strokes the prime minister’s vision for a country rebuilding from the chaos and uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic, with a focus on the cost of living, the importance of reconciliation and a cleaner economy.

At the same time, issues such as plans for national pharmacare, boosts to health-care spending and the military sexual misconduct crisis did not get a mention in the 32-page document.

Read more: Cost of living tops pandemic as key issue for Canadians ahead of Parliament’s return — Ipsos

For the NDP, frequently the Liberals’ closest dancing partner in the last Parliament, some of those absences raise crucial questions, Leader Jagmeet Singh told journalists.
Click to play video: 'Throne Speech 2021: Government promises more aid for flood-impacted B.C.' Throne Speech 2021: Government promises more aid for flood-impacted B.C.
Throne Speech 2021: Government promises more aid for flood-impacted B.C – Nov 23, 2021

“There’s no talk about increasing investments in our health care to keep it publicly funded and well funded,” said Singh. “And there’s no talk about pharmacare — something that was in the throne speech in the past and they’ve completely abandoned now — or dental care.”

Pharmacare has long been a point of contention between the Liberals and the NDP, with the latter arguing more can and should be done to speed up the process of reaching a national agreement and the government insisting it is working on it, but needs more time.

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In 2019, the Liberals had promised to “take the critical next steps to implement national universal pharmacare” in their party platform. This year, Liberals also highlighted in the party platform the fact that they have now signed a deal with the provinces and territories to “accelerate the implementation of national universal pharmacare.”

But it remains to be seen why the promise was left out this year after being specifically included in the previous two throne speeches.
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Throne Speech 2021: Time is now for ‘bolder climate action’ feds say – Nov 23, 2021

Read more: Trudeau throne speech lays out vision for COVID-19 rebuild with ‘economy of the future’

Health-care spending was also a concern for the Bloc Quebecois, with Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet telling journalists the party had suggested the government hold a summit on financing health care into the future.

“It seems not to have been accepted as an idea,” he said, adding the party plans to present specific questions to the government within a matter of hours about the wording of the speech, which he said “could have been written by a college student.”
Click to play video: 'Trudeau government lays out familiar priorities, few surprises in throne speech' Trudeau government lays out familiar priorities, few surprises in throne speech
Trudeau government lays out familiar priorities, few surprises in throne speech – Nov 23, 2021

READ MORE: Trudeau ‘a little bit concerned’ about Biden’s buy-American electric vehicle tax credit

Among the issues that got no mention were the challenges of dealing with continued protectionist policies in the U.S., Trudeau’s vision of Canada as a key producer of critical minerals for allies seeking more secure supply chains, or the disproportionate economic impact of the pandemic on women.

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There was also no mention in the speech of the ongoing crisis of military sexual misconduct, which newly appointed Defence Minister Anita Anand has said is her “top priority.”
Click to play video: 'Throne Speech 2021: Government to invest in healthcare, affordability' Throne Speech 2021: Government to invest in healthcare, affordability
Throne Speech 2021: Government to invest in healthcare, affordability – Nov 23, 2021

READ MORE: Military must transfer sexual misconduct cases to civilians: Anand

The government has faced significant criticism over its handling of the matter to date, and all eyes are now on Anand to assess what measures she plans to take to fix the longstanding problem.

Trudeau promised in the 2021 platform that the government will create an independent reporting system for military sexual misconduct, removing the process from the chain of command amid rampant reports of interference and conflict of interest in cases.

The government also promised in 2019 to apologize to survivors and victims of military sexual misconduct during the settlement of a $900-million class action lawsuit.

So far, survivors and victims are still waiting for that apology.

Click to play video: 'Canadian military sexual misconduct survivors still wait for apology from Ottawa' Canadian military sexual misconduct survivors still wait for apology from Ottawa
Canadian military sexual misconduct survivors still wait for apology from Ottawa – Nov 16, 2021

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