(Ottawa) The “support and trust” pact between the Trudeau government and the New Democratic Party (NDP) will hold until 2025, as planned, believes Pablo Rodriguez, one of the guardians of this agreement. But beware: if the Liberals don’t deliver the dental plan and the $500 housing supplement, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh vows he’ll tear up the deal.
Posted at 5:00 a.m.
The Liberal government, which was elected with a minority of seats for the second time on September 20, 2021, bought time thanks to this agreement unveiled some six months later. And since then, “there has been a real desire for it to work,” says Pablo Rodriguez, member of the agreement monitoring committee, with Dominic LeBlanc and Ruby Sahota.
“I’ve been in politics for a while now, and I would say that I see, and feel, this will on both sides. Our meetings are productive, and we also see, on the floor of the House, that it works: the bills are moving forward, ”explains the minister, who sees it as a way to counter “the systematic blocking of the Conservatives who filibuster cotton” .
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh also considers things to be going smoothly. The spokespersons of his party meet the ministers they are used to criticizing to keep abreast of the government’s projects.
A clear prerequisite
Other meetings take place regularly between the parliamentary leaders and the whips of the two political parties. And as stipulated in the agreement, Jagmeet Singh met Justin Trudeau. These meetings must take place at least quarterly.
“I told him ‘everything is fine’, but I underlined the importance of seeing help for people,” he says.
The NDP leader is keen on the $500 supplement to the Canada Housing Benefit. According to the agreement, this sum must be paid in 2022. He also wants to see the launch of the new dental care program by the end of the year. It is children under 12 who must first benefit from it.
Both of these measures were in the budget in April, but the details have yet to be announced.
“If people don’t receive the help we got in the agreement before the end of the year, we can’t continue with this agreement,” he said. But we remain optimistic that it will happen. »
On this, Mr. Rodriguez is categorical: it will be done. And it’s not just because the Liberals “have an obligation to deliver this cornerstone of the deal,” but also because “a lot of kids in Canada don’t go to the dentist because their parents don’t don’t have the means to take them there,” he said.
At the end of March, his colleague in Health, Jean-Yves Duclos, admitted that it would not be easy. “Provinces and territories, insurance companies, both with businesses and privately, directly with people, already have dental insurance mechanisms,” he explained.
There is a lot of work to do. […] We must begin to portray what already exists in order to then establish the continuation.
Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Health
Jagmeet Singh argues that the government already has a working First Nations and Inuit dental program.
He is categorical: no way for people to take their wallets out to the dentist. “With payment and reimbursement, it will create barriers for the less fortunate and it is an unacceptable barrier,” he said. We are going to create a program where we are going to pay the bills directly. »
An alliance criticized
The agreement between the Liberals and the New Democrats is an “admission of the failure of democracy” according to the leader of the Bloc Québécois, Yves-François Blanchet.
The only way this kind of weird marriage has gotten things done is through an unprecedented series of gags.
Yves-François Blanchet, leader of the Bloc Québécois
He does not believe at all that it will last until 2025, especially if Pierre Poilievre becomes leader of the Conservative Party. “It could be that Mr. Trudeau sees a window to return to the election and come to seek a real majority, he predicted. Imagine the festival of arrogance that day. »
The Bloc Québécois is one of the big losers in this alliance, because it had more influence with the previous government.
“It is certain that the fact that we agree with the NDP considerably reduces the Bloc’s room for negotiation. It’s certain. It did not suit them at all, ”admits Pablo Rodriguez, the one the Liberals often send to the front to answer questions from the Bloc. He often does this by accusing them of wanting the “chicane”.