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Liberal throne speech prioritizes tax cuts over pharmacare

Photo of Justin Trudeau on red background.CUPE is disappointed that the Liberal government’s top priority won’t be immediate help for Canadians who need it most – but a costly tax cut that benefits those that need it least.

Instead of showing that his minority government will pursue transformative change and focus on the needs of ordinary people, Justin Trudeau’s throne speech signaled that he intends to govern exactly like Andrew Scheer would, fighting for tax cuts and big corporations. The speech made only passing reference to enacting pharmacare, as the Liberals promised during the campaign, and also signaled the Liberals have no intention of ending their court challenges against Indigenous children.

“Tax cuts aren’t free – we pay for them when families can’t afford basic medication, when seniors don’t get the care they need, and when Indigenous kids don’t get the chances in life that they deserve,” said CUPE National President Mark Hancock. “There is nothing progressive about taking $6 billion out of federal coffers to pay for a tax cut for higher income earners.”

Rather than a $6 billion tax cut that gives the largest benefits to someone earning $195,000 a year, CUPE calls on the government to invest in making pharmacare a reality for Canadians in 2020.

“Imagine how much better off all of us would be if we put those resources towards helping people instead of padding the pockets of the wealthy,” said CUPE National Secretary-Treasurer Charles Fleury.

Throne speeches are, by nature, aspirational, setting out broad terms of what a government hopes to achieve, and CUPE is pleased to see the government’s aspirations around pharmacare, fighting climate change, and building more housing reflected in the throne speech. However, it is perplexing to watch the government signal those progressive aspirations while simultaneously, and intentionally, depriving itself of the revenue it would need to make them a reality.


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