With the federal election coming up on Monday, Oct. 21, it’s important to understand how a conservative government would affect people with disabilities and chronic illnesses.
Conservative leader Andrew Scheer may trash other candidates in his ads, but he doesn’t look like such a great choice himself.
According to a Vice News article, Campaign Life Coalition, a religious organization that aggressively opposes abortion and gay marriage, supports Scheer’s voting record.
Vice reporter Justin Ling writes that Scheer’s “record includes him voting against bills to legalize gay marriage, enshrine human rights protections for transgender people and to allow physician-assisted dying.” He has also voted “in favour of passing a legislation act to redefine when, during pregnancy, a fetus is considered a human being.”
These legislation changes, if enacted, would likely be detrimental. Banning abortions could lead to heightened stress on the medical system by increasing the amount of pregnancies that are carried to term. The medical system would not only have to account for more births, but also for additional complications and dangerous pregnancies, as well as the affer-effects of “back-alley” abortions.
People can take precautions to try and avoid pregnancies, but they can still happen. Personally, the thought of an abortion ban is quite scary. Because of my health issues, a pregnancy would be extremely dangerous for me.
Additionally, the Conservatives, both federally and provincially, don’t want to expand public health-care coverage. Scheer’s platform dismisses the recommendations that a federal advisory committee made to extend prescription drug coverage to all Canadians. He instead proposed that “there are other ways for the federal government to ensure Canadians have access to necessary drugs, such as filling gaps in coverage for people without access to provincial or employer-sponsored plans.”
Scheer does not specify what funding gaps they intend to fill. In fact, the Conservative Party website doesn’t have an easy-to-find list of the policies they want to change.
Ontario can provide somewhat of an example of what kind of cuts a federal Conservative government might make. The province has seen cuts to drug coverage for youth under 25, paramedic services and out-of-country health coverage. The Conservatives have also put essential programs for disease control, immunization, food and water safety in danger by opening the door to more privatization of health care.
For people who are disabled and chronically ill, private health care can be absolutely terrifying. These individuals are more likely to be low-income, because their illnesses can restrict their abilities.
Data from a 2014 Longitudinal and International Study of Adults (LISA) shows that “In 2014, persons with a disability accounted for approximately one-fifth of the overall (Canadian) population aged 25 to 64,” and that, of this percentage, those living with disabilities were statistically much more likely to be low-income or unemployed than people without a disability.
Many folks living with disabilities or chronic illnesses depend on disability payments and fixed incomes and still struggle to afford their expensive medications. Even with exemptions due to low-income status and after insurance, medication can cost hundreds of dollars.
Other parties are more empathetic to the economic barriers experienced by people with disabilities. Conservative candidates, in general, do not believe in social programs or providing for them. Scheer is no different. He’s not for national pharmacare, which means he’s not for affordable medicine.
Crystal is a 30-year-old woman living with a progressive, terminal illness. However, she lives her life to the fullest by getting several tattoos, writing her blog on Facebook, modeling, advocating for various causes and sporting a rocker girl style.
Published in Volume 74, Number 6 of The Uniter (October 10, 2019)