NDP's 2019 election platform promises mental, dental, hearing coverage for all

The NDP will be the first Canadian federal party to unveil an election platform that promises to drastically expand Canada's health care system to include, not just pharmacare, but mental, dental, eye and hearing coverage for all citizens.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh unveiled the platform in Hamilton on Sunday. CBC was given an early look at the platform.

The party promises to reform Canada's health-care system to fund a whole new suite of services, just as the Liberals are looking at creating a national drug plan. On Wednesday, a Liberal government-appointed advisory council called for a $15-billion single-payer pharmacare plan and the federal health minister says Ottawa is considering next steps.

The NDP plan, titled "A New Deal for People," will be launched at a campaign-style rally Sunday at the Hamilton Convention Centre during the Ontario NDP's weekend-long convention.

It will be a homecoming for Singh, who left the provincial party and was elected federal party leader less than two years ago. The party's hope is that the platform launch will provide a much-needed boost for Singh and other candidates who will soon head back to their ridings for a summer of campaigning. Lately, national polls have been showing the centre-left party losing ground to the Green Party.

How would they pay for it?

One question Singh undoubtedly will face is the obvious one: How do you pay for biggest new federal health care investment in generations?

The NDP platform says it would phase in the expansion of health coverage, starting with universal pharmacare in 2020. The platform doesn't offer a complete timeline, nor does it outline the full cost of the program, saying the party would need to study the issue and work with provinces to implement it. 

The Canadian Press/Paul Chiasson

The party outlines measures to boost government revenues to help pay for the multi-billion dollar reform. The party would raise taxes on the wealthiest Canadians — those with wealth over $20 million annually. It also would raise corporate taxes, end fossil fuel subsidies, close tax loopholes and levy a foreign home buyers tax.

The party says it expects that some of these fiscal measures won't just boost government revenues, but also fight money laundering and cool down overheated housing markets in Vancouver and Ontario.

The Parliamentary Budget Officer, an independent officer of parliament, will review the plan, the NDP says. This election is the first time the PBO, which typically reviews government spending and policy initiatives, will make itself available to assess the fiscal soundness of party platforms.

What else does the NDP platform promise to do?

  • Commit to fully and equitably fund health education and other services in Indigenous communities.
  • Create an action plan to prevent suicide.
  • Cap and reduce tuition fees and student loan interest, with an eventual goal of free post-secondary education.
  • Ban unpaid internships.
  • Introduce federal incentives for zero-emissions automobiles and prioritize cars made in Canada.
  • Invest $1 billion in affordable childcare in 2020.
  • Focus on revitalizing industries like forestry, fisheries and agriculture.
  • Put a price cap on cellphone and internet bills, and introduce a telecommunications bill of rights.
  • Close tax loopholes and introduce a one per cent "wealth tax" on personal earnings over $20 million.
  • Increase access to public transit, including along rural routes cut off by Greyhound service discontinuation.
  • Power Canada with net carbon-free electricity by 2030.
  • Ban single-use plastics.
  • End veteran homelessness.
  • Launch a basic income pilot project.
  • Strengthen the air passenger bill of rights.
  • Create an affordable housing plan that includes construction of more low-cost and co-operative housing across the country.

The CBC's David Thurton can be reached on FacebookTwitter or at david.thurton@cbc.ca.

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