August 9, 2013: CARP members look to the premiers for leadership on very important files related to health care reform in general and generic pharmaceutical purchasing specifically, as well as setting national health care standards, but they regard the Premiers’ Conferences themselves with some skepticism.
Health care files are seen to be the most important priority for the premiers, followed by pensions and job training, which they see as better managed provincially, even if they don’t see any government job training programs as very effective. The shedding of health care and taking back of job training by the federal government is seen as a case of swapping the hard file for the easy one, and making for better campaigning.
CARP members favour abolishing the senate.
Areas where the premiers are seen to be active and effective are cyber-bullying and bullying, affordable housing strategies, generic and brand name drug purchasing and home care, which is seen to be a national priority, while needing provincial funding.
More than half do not think the provinces have handled their health care responsibilities well since they were devolved last year, and most do not think a set of national health care standards will come from the provinces. There is little consensus that progress has been made on the generic drug purchasing and pricing file, which is seen to be extremely important. Pharmacare is also seen to be an important priority for the premiers.
On CPP enhancement, the wide majority agree it is important the premiers work on this goal, which is seen to be necessary and affordable, and which will require lobbying from seniors’ organizations to achieve. More media and publicity, especially on the plight of seniors in poverty, is seen to be the best way to move popular and political opinion in the direction of CPP enhancement.
While these conferences are seen to be important for national planning by a third, many see them as photo ops which produce empty promises. Brad Wall of Saskatchewan is seen to be the single most effective of the premiers.
The Liberals are tied with the Conservatives in voter preference, and have been for weeks, while the NDP continues to occupy distant second place.