Kenora MP Eric Melillo says he doesn’t believe the federal government will follow through on their new priorities after signing a deal with the NDP.
On March 22, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the federal Liberals have struck and signed a ‘Supply and Confidence’ deal with the federal NDP to govern the country until June 2025.
“What this means is that during this uncertain time, the government can function with predictability and stability, present and implement budgets and get things done for Canadians,” explained Trudeau.
Supply and Confidence deals are when one party agrees to support another party in exchange for progress on key issues, which will also avoid another early election call as the NDP plans to support the Liberals on any confidence and budget votes.
“No NDP candidates ran on a platform of supporting the Liberals in their last campaign, yet that’s really what they’ve been doing every step of the way,” mused Kenora MP, Eric Melillo, in an interview with the Q Morning Show on March 25.
“It looks to me, really, like a formalization of an agreement that was more or less in place already. By doing this, the NDP are essentially giving up their leverage and ability to hold the government accountable,” adds Melillo.
Key priorities for the NDP have typically included national pharmacare and dental plans. The NDP’s Jagmeet Singh campaigned on a promise of a national dental care plan during his two elections as party leader.
Now, a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office says a new dental care program could start for low-income youth under the age of 12 this year, before expanding next year to include those under the age of 18, seniors and those with a disability. It would only help families who make under $90,000 per year.
The statement says the Liberals will continue to work on developing a national pharmacare program by passing legislation before the end of 2023, will develop long-term funding arrangements for childcare services and will focus on providing more affordable housing.
The federal government notes other key areas for the partnership are likely to include climate change, healthcare spending, reconciliation with Indigenous people, economic growth and ways to lower Canadians’ cost of living.
“[The NDP] are trusting that the Liberals will actually follow through on these priorities,” adds Melillo. “Which, frankly, they’ve had seven years to take action on and the government hasn’t lifted a finger. I’m certainly not holding my breath that they’re going to follow through this time.”
In a prepared statement, Interim Conservative Leader, Candace Bergen, says the agreement is just an attempt by Trudeau to hold on to power.
“Canadians did not vote for an NDP government. This is little more than backdoor socialism. Trudeau is truly polarizing politics which is what he likes. This is an NDP-Liberal attempt at government by blackmail,” said Bergen.
To note, a ‘Supply and Confidence’ deal is different than a ‘Coalition’ government. In this scenario, the NDP does not become part of the Liberal government, NDP MP’s remain the opposition and the NDP can walk away from the deal at any time.