When Tommy Douglas introduced universal healthcare to Canada, his vision was for a complete, head-to-toe, comprehensive healthcare system that lefts no one falling through the gaps. Canada is the only developed country in the world with a universal health care system that doesn't include universal coverage of prescription drugs.
Being able to see a doctor does not help if one cannot afford their medication. I have met a senior, who at 80 years old, must blend all their food to survive because they do not have teeth. Mental health support is inaccessible to too many people, often with devastating impact. It should be a no-brainer that a complete healthcare system includes prescription medication, dental care, vision care, and mental health support. With rising costs, it is more important than ever that healthcare is accessible and affordable.

Can’t afford your medication? Universal public pharmacare saves money and lives.

Canadians are paying more for prescription drugs than citizens of other OECD countries, with one in eight Canadians between 55 and 64 saying they cannot afford their medication. Nearly 2 million Canadians couldn’t afford to fill their prescriptions in the last year. And for many people that means more trips to the doctor or the hospital – hurting their health, and costing more in the long run. No one should have to choose between paying for their medicine, or paying for their or their families’ other basic needs.

MEDIA RELEASE: NDP MPs fighting against toxic drug related deaths, while Liberals ignore expert advice

MEDIA RELEASE: NDP MPs fighting against toxic drug related deaths, while Liberals ignore expert advice

"Families in Vancouver and across British Columbia have experienced the devastating toll of the toxic drug crisis. Thousands of families have lost loved ones – these are preventable deaths," said NDP MP Jenny Kwan (Vancouver East). "Successive Medical Health Officers in BC, the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police and family members have called out Canada's current drug laws. They are ineffective, do not give people the help they need and disproportionally harm marginalized communities. The cost of inaction is people's lives – we need to act now."  
 
"Over the last two years, we've seen a drastic increase in toxic drug-related deaths and hospitalizations across Canada," said NDP MP Don Davies (Vancouver Kingsway). "The status quo is clearly not working. Substance use and addiction are health, not criminal matters. It’s critical that we follow the evidence and shift to the health-based approach that Bill C-216 is proposing."  
 
“I am proud to support Gord John’s Bill C-216 and thank him for putting it forward. The criminalization of drugs has had an unfathomably negative impact on the health and well-being of far too many people in this country,” said Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart. “It unfairly targets those who are homeless, experiencing mental health issues, and racialized and Indigenous communities. This bill is a chance to take a more compassionate approach - ensuring drug users end up in health care, not handcuffs.”
IN THE NEWS: Global News - Advocates rally in support of abortion rights in Vancouver

IN THE NEWS: Global News - Advocates rally in support of abortion rights in Vancouver

Vancouver-Mount Pleasant NDP MP Jenny Kwan also addressed the crowd.
She told Global News that while what is happening in the U.S. is “horrifying,” Canadians should remain focused on the right to access safe abortion here.
“While it is true that abortion is legal here in Canada, the reality is that many communities do not have access to abortion services, and sexual health services for the LGBTQ2+ community, for the trans community is also not available if you happen to live in a remote community, in a rural community,” she said.
Kwan argued the Liberal government is not doing enough to ensure abortion services are available to Canadians everywhere, pointing to the battle in New Brunswick over Clinic 554.
New Brunswick’s provincial government refuses to fund abortions at the clinic, the only facility in the province providing surgical abortions outside of a hospital.  In response, the federal government withheld some health transfers to the province, but the clinic’s operator was forced scale back services.
IN THE NEWS: CTV - The day after the deal: MPs voice their views on the Liberal-NDP agreement

IN THE NEWS: CTV - The day after the deal: MPs voice their views on the Liberal-NDP agreement

NDP MP Jenny Kwan said that while the deal doesn’t include all of the policies the NDP want progress on, “it is about getting as much as we can for the people who need the supports and services,” and she and others will continue to fight for more.

“That’s what this agreement is about, getting as much as we can,” Kwan said. “Imagine—if 25 New Democrats can get us this far—what a majority New Democrat government can do.”

NEWS: CBC - How the Liberal-NDP agreement will work and what it  might mean for Canadians

NEWS: CBC - How the Liberal-NDP agreement will work and what it might mean for Canadians

The "supply-and-confidence" agreement struck between the governing Liberals and the opposition New Democrats could affect the kind of legislation Canadians can expect to see pass through Parliament between now and 2025.

According to the deal, those key policy areas are climate change, health care spending, reconciliation with Indigenous peoples, economic growth and efforts to make life more affordable.

IN THE NEWS: Global News West Block - Opposition MPs say Auditor General report highlights failures of border safety measures

IN THE NEWS: Global News West Block - Opposition MPs say Auditor General report highlights failures of border safety measures

The Auditor General found the Public Health Agency of Canada does not know whether 75 per cent of air arrivals followed quarantine rules in early 2021. ‘The West Block’ guest host Abigail Bimman is joined by Conservative MP Melissa Lantsman and NDP MP Jenny Kwan to discuss the government’s response and reinstated travel rules due to the Omicron variant.

IN THE NEWS: Hill Times - New House set to return as Liberal government faces unfinished legislative business with potential NDP ally

IN THE NEWS: Hill Times - New House set to return as Liberal government faces unfinished legislative business with potential NDP ally

Ms. Kwan, who insisted that the NDP will press the Liberal government hard to move on a myriad of issues starting with seniors who received the Canada Emergency Response Benefit during the pandemic and who have now either seen their Guaranteed Income Supplement payments reduced or lost leaving some of them unable to pay rent.

“Housing affordability is a paramount issue—whether it’s someone who is homeless or those trying to get into the market for the first time,” said Ms. Kwan, the NDP’s housing critic.
She explained that the affordability issue touches health care too, where one of her constituents recently told her of being unable to cover the cost of cancer medication—a shining example, in Ms. Kwan’s view, of why her party will continue to press the Liberal government on universal pharmacare.

The Liberals will have an eager and unrelenting ally in the New Democrats to pursue action in addressing “the climate crisis before us,” said Ms. Kwan, a former NDP cabinet minister in British Columbia. “Canada has yet to meet a COP target since Paris in 2015.”

In her opinion, she said Mr. Trudeau also missed an opportunity to advance reconciliation with Canada’s Indigenous peoples this year by both vacationing in Tofino, B.C. on the country’s first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation (Sept. 30), and later by his government filing an appeal of a Federal Court decision upholding a Canadian Human Rights Tribunal ruling on Indigenous child-welfare compensation, while continuing to negotiate an out-of-court settlement.

In her role as federal NDP critic for immigration, refugees and citizenship, Ms. Kwan has another issue she will hammer home when the House resumes sitting.   “Immigration is in complete chaos right now. The backlog for every stream is mind boggling,” she explained.

“There was already a backlog before the pandemic, and with the pandemic, immigration processing was severely debilitated. Amidst all of that, the Liberals decided to call an election on the day [Aug. 15] when there was a humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan.”

IN THE NEWS: The Record - When COVID goes, so goes our hybrid Parliament

IN THE NEWS: The Record - When COVID goes, so goes our hybrid Parliament

In the hybrid system, a corporal’s guard of MPs from each party, masked and socially distanced, physically attended each day’s sitting while most members tuned in remotely from their homes, offices or wherever they happened to be. They were able to ask questions, to join debates and, once the bugs were out of the technology, to vote.

By the time MPs went home for the summer (and an anticipated election), they had become familiar, if not comfortable, with the changes born of necessity. Most seemed to feel the system had worked as well as could reasonably have been expected in such unprecedented circumstances. But there was no clamour to make the digital experience permanent.
Jenny Kwan, the NDP member for Vancouver East, said the hybrid system was “the best that we could do. There were times you would spend so much time getting everything functioning technically, and by the time you do, you have no time to do the actual work.”

IN THE NEWS: CBC - Advocacy groups warn Covid-19 travel ban has left refugees in limbo

The Canadian Council for Refugees called on the government months ago to introduce exemptions to the travel measures for people being resettled as refugees and entering to make a refugee protection claim.  Janet Dench, the organization’s executive director, said refugee travel is essential, saying that those awaiting resettlement live in precarious circumstances and that the pandemic has only added to their vulnerability.
NDP immigration critic Jenny Kwan said processing delays were significant before the pandemic and “things have just gone from bad to worse.”
Ms. Kwan said the lag can be particularly burdensome for refugee families who left family members behind and made applications to reunite. “I am regularly in discussion with people who made an application, been waiting a year, two years or more with having their application processed,” she said.

OPEN LETTER to Federal and BC Minister of Health and Chief Medical Officer on information urgently needed on Covid-19 cases in the DTES

OPEN LETTER to Federal and BC Minister of Health and Chief Medical Officer on information urgently needed on Covid-19 cases in the DTES

There is growing fear among frontline workers and community members in the Downtown Eastside as they are receiving mixed messages about the presence of the COVID-19 virus in the community. According to recent media reports, Vancouver's Medical Health Officer, Dr. Patricia Daly is not providing a specific number on how many COVID-19 cases are confirmed in the Downtown Eastside. Instead, she suggests that we can assume COVID – 19 is “everywhere” in the Downtown Eastside. If this reporting is correct, given this latest development, this means that everyone in the community, including frontline workers, are at a heightened level of risk of exposure to the virus.
Frontline workers and community members in my riding are anxious and afraid. A frontline worker wrote to me informing me about the enormous strain on her mental health that working in dangerous conditions have caused. She also informed me that she has begun making plans with her family in the event that she dies from Covid-19. She is angry that health authorities will not clarify whether there have been confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the Downtown Eastside community.

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