Throne Speech’s promise of pharmacare rings hollow

Plus, blinking out on online learning, universal basic income revisited and Sarah Cooper for Trump haters in reader mail this week


Universal coverage for drugs taking too long

The Throne Speech’s mention of accelerating Canada’s development of a national pharmacare plan along with other progressive measures (NOW Online, September 24), is likely in exchange for needed NDP support of the shaky Liberal minority government.    

Liberal and Conservative governments have consistently allowed us to remain the world’s sole country that has universal health care but does not similarly cover prescribed medication.  

Assuming it’s not just another hollow promise, why has it taken so long for a Canadian federal government to implement one, considering it’s a potential life-and-death issue?  

Many low-income outpatients who cannot afford to fill their prescriptions end up back in the hospital system costing far more than if their generic-brand medication was covered.  

It’s not coincidental that the absence of universal medication coverage also keeps the pharmaceutical industry’s profits soaring.    

Frank Sterle Jr. — White Rock, BC

The case for universal basic income

Regarding Seven Questions On Universal Basic Income (NOW Online, September 19). I am trained as a counsellor. The suffering I’ve seen at the low end of the social-economic ladder convinced me to seek out the root causes of poverty and effective long-term solutions. That’s when I discovered universal basic income and realized here was the real solution. What we’ve been doing is like putting a band-aid on a bullet wound.

Paul Marsh — Calgary

Blinking out on online learning 

September 18 was the first day of my senior year in high school. The teachers make apologies throughout my online class about how everyone’s working out how to use this new virtual learning environment. This is unprecedented, after all. My laptop camera breaks after the first period. I download three new Chrome extensions. My internet blinks out a few times. 

As Canadians, what we take for granted – a working laptop, an internet connection – are still privileges. The pandemic has caused new barriers to education: no device with a microphone and camera, no WiFi, no time, and sometimes, no teachers, no classes and closed schools. 

From a place of privilege, it’s easier to shut out the events that are happening across the world. 

Kaitlyn Chen — Ottawa

Sale of MEC is for members to decide

The pending sale of MEC (NOW Online, September 16) is an affront to Canada’s storied and living history of co-operatives. I spent six months of 2019 travelling to 130 consumer-owned grocery co-ops across the U.S. and Canada where I delivered talks about the importance of the co-operative model of business ownership. Heaven forbid I’m a liar!

The decision to forego engaging the co-op’s members on the sale of the business is not in any way aligned with co-operative values or ethics. For all intents and purposes, the decision by MEC’s board to sell the co-operative should be viewed as illegal.

In negotiating the sale to Kingswood Capital Management, MEC’s board made a presumptive decision on behalf of the co-operative’s five-million owners that in the face of financial hardship, the member-owners would have preferred that their co-operative continue operating as a privately owned business. Also presumptive is that Kingswood would continue to operate MEC as MEC and not sell it to a multinational sporting goods retailer or liquidate MEC’s assets. This is, after all, what private equity firms do for a living – maximize value for their investors, whatever the social cost.

Jon Steinman — Nelson, BC

Sarah Cooper is for Trump haters

Re Why Sarah Cooper Is The Pandemic Breakout Comic (NOW, September 24-30). Sorry but Sarah Cooper is a one-trick pony in my opinion. I saw her host Kimmel and her routine was not bad. But the Trump bit is only for Trump haters. There are some of us who like talent and she has some. She needs to work on her routine

Bryan B. — From nowtoronto.com

Young people can’t have it both ways on COVID-19

Re Why Shaming Young People For Breaking COVID-19 Rules Won’t Work (NOW Online, September 25). I am from northern England where no one can visit another person’s home. You go to work (if your work still exists) and you go home after your day is done and that is it. My wife is from the Dominican Republic where there is a 12 hour curfew from 5 pm to 5 am. If you are caught out during those times you get fined 1,000 pesos ($25 CAD) on the spot. That is a lot of money for a Dominican to come up with. If you cannot come up with the money you go to jail for 48 hours. If you are driving a car you get the same fine and in addition your car is impounded for 14 days.

Young people cannot have it both ways. They cannot claim to have their social life online and then go out and transmit the disease.

Nick Tunnacliffe — From nowtoronto.com

Fun with Enola Holmes

I just watched Enola Holmes on Netflix (NOW Online, September 23) and it was so fun. I was hoping it was a series and not just a movie.

Kelly Daye — From nowtoronto.com

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