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Ottawa, Apr 20 (Canadian-Media): A federal Liberal national convention on the protection of the environment and economy growth was held in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Friday, April 20, media reports said.
About 3,000 registered Liberal supporters attending the convention had been reportedly pushing the federal government to take radical steps to solve the opioid crisis, decriminalize the purchase of sex and increase the accessibility of free medicines, .
In some cases, the federal government had been pushing back on a proposal to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of all drugs.
“Currently we treat patients as criminals and harm the very people we want to save,” Liberal MP Nathaniel Erskine-Smith at a workshop on health and social policy on Friday said. “[Prohibition] doesn’t work, Canadians continue to use drugs and Canadians continue to die.”
A number of necessary steps had been taken by the federal government to deal with the opioid crisis, said Federal Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor, immediately after the workshop, including easing restrictions on methadone and prescription heroin.
“Canada and Portugal are two very different countries,” she told reporters. “It’s not about adopting one model and bringing it to Canada, we have to look at what can be effective and efficient for Canada.”
John Oliver, Liberal Member of Parliament (MP) notified the necessity for the federal government to create a universal, single-payer pharmacare program before the next federal election to avoid being vulnerable because that option was already being supported by the National Democratic Party (NDP).
“This is ours to finish, not the NDP,” he said at a workshop. “The solution is simple, the Canada Health Act needs to be amended by adding prescription medicines to the definition of covered services.”
Oliver added the proposal would not simply offer coverage to those who don’t have workplace health benefits, but apply to all Canadians.
Realizing that this option would cost billions in new funding, Former Ontario health minister Eric Hoskins, chairing a federal advisory council on this issue, suggested the government to create a major new social program.
“I am agnostic on the conclusions other than making sure that we get Canadians to a position where everyone has access to health care that’s going to make sure that themselves and their families are able to be healthy and that is our goal,” Finance Minister Bill Morneau said last month.
Liberal supporters at the national convention in Halifax would reportedly vote on Friday in support of four of the 30 resolutions that are on the floor.
On Saturday, the top 20 resolutions will be prioritized in a plenary session and decide which resolutions are included - in whole or in part - in the 2019 electoral platform.
About a quarter of the delegates at the convention being young Liberals had been pushing for the decriminalization of the consensual sex trade among adults.
“It’s a very progressive policy,” said Young Liberals president Mira Ahmad. “Young Liberals have a history of challenging the party’s status quo at times.”
“There are many resolutions here that would find themselves at home at an NDP convention,” NDP MP and parliamentary leader Guy Caron said. “It’s a big show as they try to show how progressive they are, but the implementation, when they are in power, is just not there.”
Federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna and Canada's Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr, during a panel presentation on the pipeline issue, defended their government’s position in favour of the controversial Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.
“You have a chance to go out in your communities and don’t shy away from what we have done. You should be super proud of what we are doing,” Ms. McKenna told Liberal supporters.
Catherine McKenna. Image credit: Official
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)