, 06.13.2019 11:25 AM

Prime Minister Single-Use Plastic

From next week’s Hill Times column. It’s pointy, like a juice box straw.

The Gettysburg Address it was not.

Standing on the picturesque shores of some picturesque lake in Mont-Saint-Hillaire, Quebec, Justin Trudeau was asked what he and his family had done to cut single-use plastics out of their lives.

Here is what he said, verbatim.

“We…uh…uh…we have recently switched to drinking water bottles out of…water out of when we have, uh, bottles out of, uh, plastic, sorry, away from plastic towards, uh, paper. Like, drink box water bottles sort of things.”

The Liberal Prime Minister’s was so proudly unintelligible, so defiantly incomprehensible, it instantly went viral, supplying fodder for dozens of anti-Trudeau memes across the Internet for the next 100 years. It was mocked and maligned from coast to coast to coast, including by people who actually still sort of like Justin Trudeau. Heck, the clever Sodastream beverage people even put together an ad about it, with the tagline: “Justin, just say Sodastream.” Trolled by a big international company: ouch.

It reminded all and sundry that Gerald Butts has indeed left the building, and that Justin Trudeau has started to sound like Tom Hanks in Forrest Gump, except way worse. Or Zoolander, even, but on a bad day.

How did the oxymoronic brain trust in Trudeau’s PMO not see that coming? How did they not supply the Actor-In-Chief with an answer to one of the three most enduring political questions, namely: “Do you practice what you preach? (The other two being: “What did you know and when did you know it?” and “Why did you party on that boat with a bunch of topless co-eds?”)


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    Gord Tulk says:

    And this is immediately followed by the Marxist pharma policy the promises to solve the issues relating to pharmaceuticals by creating a national monopoly run by the federal government where the consumer pays essentially nothing for their meds.

    What could possibly go wrong with that.

    And what current examples do we have that such a set up ever works?

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      Darwin O'Connor says:

      Sweden, Australia, New Zealand. I understand pretty much every developed country except Canada and the US have some form of it.

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        Fred from BC says:

        No , Darwin…he asked for examples that actually work.

        (from the G&M 2016)


        Those who are pushing for a national, government-run pharmacare program see it as a necessary measure to control the growth of pharmaceutical expenditures.

        What these supporters fail to mention is that such programs keep spending in check by rationing access to new drugs, rather than by being more efficient.

        Foreign experience can teach us much about the dangers of adopting a monopolistic drug insurance plan in Canada. The United Kingdom is among the countries that have pushed this line of reasoning the furthest. As a result, U.K. patients for many years had to do without drugs that were approved and recognized as effective and available all across Europe. These restrictions have in all likelihood played a role in the U.K.s’ lower cancer-survival rates compared with most other industrialized countries.

        New Zealand, often held up as the ideal model to emulate, provides another cautionary tale. Of all medicines registered between 2009 and 2014, only 13 per cent were added to the list of products that are funded by the country’s public insurer, Pharmac. According to a recent study, 75 per cent of New Zealand general practitioners said they had wanted to prescribe an unfunded medicine in the previous six months. Some New Zealand patients have even emigrated to Australia to access required medical treatments for multiple sclerosis and HIV infection.

        Some argue that a government-run pharmacare program would improve access to prescription drugs for the most needy, but international comparisons suggest otherwise. According to a study by the Commonwealth Fund, in 2013, 8 per cent of Canadians with below-average incomes said that they had not filled a prescription or had skipped doses in the previous year because of cost. Although there is room for improvement, this is on par with Germany (8 per cent) and is notably better than France (11 per cent), Australia (14 per cent), and New Zealand (18 per cent) – all countries with national pharmacare programs.


        That’s only a couple of the arguments against this….there are more (reduced R&D, to name just one). I know you are an NDP supporter and all, but nothing like this comes without consequences (like, who exactly will pay for this program, and how?). Sometimes I too wish that life were as simple as the NDP seem to believe it to be…but alas, it is not; in the real world (where most of us live) good intentions aren’t the same as good policy, sorry.

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          PK says:

          How much R&D is funded through government subsidies (i don’t know, just wondering), and how much private sector budget goes to lobbying, and marketing? Again, I don’t know, I’m just wondering – look at antibiotics – they only do R&D when it’s profitable – is this a press release from a lobbyist? In the real world people get sick, so if you have a public hospital system then a public pharma-care system makes sense –

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            Fred from BC says:

            “they only do R&D when it’s profitable – is this a press release from a lobbyist?”

            Nope, Globe and Mail columnist…

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        Gord Tulk says:

        All of those countries have far fewer drugs covered. Especially the new blockbuster drugs. People in Scandinavia have to go to France to get their – very expensive cancer meds or the latest and best types of insulin.

        The only way such systems can even remotely maintain fiscal lines is more and more limitations on what’s available.

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          PK says:

          So add a deductible at the bottom and let insurers administer a spending account for $50 a month. Not a lot of big companies offer individual plans to all their staff, they use group coverage for a reason, so if you want to make sure everybody has coverage, a big group plan is the best way to do that

          If you want a revenue stream in addition to saving costs at the bottom with a deductible, then a health tax on fast food, sugary drinks, snacks etc –

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            Gord Tulk says:

            That isn’t remotely what they are proposing.

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    Ronald O'Dowd says:


    I don’t know. Our national pharmacare here in Quebec is as old as the hills. It’s far from perfect but most people seem to be satisfied. Sadly, for the taxpayer, the Laurentian Elitist has opted out cause the Barreau’s premiums are slightly cheaper. What can I do, I’m a cheapskate!

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      Gord Tulk says:

      Quebec’s pharma coverage is nothing like what is being proposed. The private sector providers are actually getting more and more market share under RAMQ.

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    Jeanbatte says:

    Somewhat Chretien-esque, I would say. Like, ‘da proof is daproof because it is proven!”

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      rww says:

      But somehow that was endearing. Maybe because we knew Chretien was actually smarter then he sometimes sounded.

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        Jeanbatte says:

        Exactly! Chretien was a sharp individual who played the fool when to his advantage. Trudeau does not have to play the fool.

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    Szlvatore says:

    How about our family has decided to not use straws at all and drink from the cup or bottle or can just like beer drinkers. We don’t like paper straws as they destroy trees. Perhaps we can tell China to stop sending the cheapest plastic to Canada that we use to store food instead of plastic wrap that is one time use.

    Yes can the Chinese stop sending to Wal-Mart plastic containers that keep getting thinner and thinner each year especially at Black Friday, Plastic that breaks after one use.

    Uh duh. Our prime minister isn’t up to speed what families know in Canada. Garbage products from Canada.

    But then again it appears a cover up to the Liberal MP from BC caught with his pants down with Chinese organized crime and his law firm that helped money launder for the Kingpin. It wasn’t the first time his law firm was doing naughty things. He has bee kicked out of the Bar and his law firm dissolved. Why is this story quiet? It’s a rather huge link. Let Jody speak again. Can’t let this alleged crooked Liberal MP stop her from speaking out on what Trudeau said or did.

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    Pedant says:

    Why didn’t the reporter ask him why he doesn’t drink tap water? Does he not trust the standards of Canadian water treatment plants?

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    Mr. Brando says:

    Warren, serious question and not to poke the PM further on this – I’m trying to make a more objective observation of what seems to have happened to JT’s mojo.

    If you accept or even suggest the premise that the PM was and always has been a little bit out of his depth in this gig but perhaps was able to at least appear like he had a grip on things because of his skills in “acting” the part with his usually great oration, I wonder if some of his latest flubs are simply a product of his own personal and newfound understanding that many people have started to simply not believe “the act”?

    If I were trying to portray myself as something and review after review (or poll after poll) said “we simply don’t believe you” or “you are no longer credible,” I might be begin to panic. I might especially panic if, for instance, I didn’t have a long and storied career in business or the private sector or much anything else to fall back on with regards to my record – foreign affairs, trade, economic strategy and…well, canadian unity.

    My sense is that he looks, sounds and feels vulnerable and his “performances” of late reflect just that. My two cents, but wondering what you think is behind him so consistently going “off script”…

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    Peter says:

    I think he missed a golden opportunity to boast about how Sophie brings recyclable cloth bags with her when she shops at Holt Renfrew.

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      Ronald O'Dowd says:


      Makes me wonder whether Mila used to shop there.

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    David Montgomery says:

    I wished someone had asked him “What about condoms?”

    (P.S. If I learned that Justin Trudeau had partied on a boat with topless co-eds I’d actually be impressed by him for once)

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