Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has pledged to create a national prescription drug plan if re-elected, moving back on the offensive after blackface photos of him emerged and hurt his campaign.
After two days of profuse apologies, Mr Trudeau has resumed making campaign announcements as polls show his Liberals trailing the opposition Conservatives of Andrew Scheer slightly ahead of the Oct. 21 election.
Mr Trudeau, accusing the Conservatives of planning major spending cuts, said he would make sure all Canadians had access to a family doctor and affordable medicine.
“No one should go without the care they need because they don’t have access to a family doctor. And no one should have to give up food and heat to be able to pay for healthcare,” Mr Trudeau said.
Canada’s universal healthcare system does not include universal coverage for prescription drugs, and primary care doctors are scarce in many areas.
The cost of the proposal would be about C$6 billion ($4.52 billion) over four years, and Ottawa would work with the 10 provinces and three northern territories to implement the changes, Trudeau said.
The healthcare pledge was his fourth major campaign announcement since Friday, when he vowed to ban military-style assault weapons. On Sunday he pledged to eliminate some taxes and slash notoriously expensive cell-phone bills by a quarter.
The ruling Liberals were knocked off course by old photos of Mr Trudeau in blackface that emerged last week. The images were at odds with his oft-stated position that he wants to improve the lot of minorities in Canada and prompted international ridicule.