The uncertainty facing the world means Canadians want stability and that’s where Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke MP Randall Garrison sees potential in a deal between the federal Liberals and NDP.
The supply and confidence agreement will see the NDP support the governing Liberals on budgets and confidence matters until June 2025. In exchange, some key NDP platform promises will be prioritized.
The two parties have acknowledged they need a couple of years to make some real progress, Garrison said in an interview.
“In order to get things done, the government needs a little bit of time. So if we’re in a constant electoral cycle, nothing ever gets accomplished that brings meaningful change.”
The deal doesn’t change the nature of minority Parliaments, Garrison said, where either side can walk away at any time if things aren’t working out. However, his constituents keep telling him that they don’t want another election anytime soon.
“I think there’s a real understanding that if we want to do things for Canadians, we need that stability.”
The agreement’s prioritized dental and pharma-care commitments will help Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke residents, Garrison said. He often points to a story where a woman stopped him on the street and said her husband needing serious dental work meant her kids wouldn’t be able to go to the dentist for a year.
The deal proposes a new dental-care program for families making less than $90,000 – starting with children under 12 this year, then those under 18, seniors and people living with disabilities in 2023, with full implementation by 2025.
Garrison said more than half of families in his riding would be eligible for the program.
“I think everyone has, at one point or another, struggled with dental problems. They can really affect your general health, affect your ability to work, affect your self-confidence. So I think it’s a really big measure for people in my riding.”
On why the deal is needed, the NDP MP points to how his party has put the motions on dental and pharma-care forward this year that other parties, including the Liberals, voted against.
“These are measures, in the agreement, that wouldn’t have happened otherwise.”
During his almost 11 years in Ottawa, Garrison has consistently been told that people want collaboration over “endless pre-election posturing.” He’s confident the policies outlined in the deal will be passed but said he thinks even more will be achieved through the cooperation.
Garrison said there’s been a lot of cynicism about politics in recent years and he hopes progress made under the agreement, and the deal itself, will help improve faith in democracy.
“This is Parliament working as it should and working on behalf of Canadians.”
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