Canada to release budget, outline better drug coverage
By David Ljunggren OTTAWA (Reuters) - The Canadian government will unveil its budget for the 2019/20 fiscal year on March 19 and outline ways to provide more access to prescription drugs, Finance Minister Bill Morneau said on Wednesday, confirming a report from Reuters. The budget is the last before a federal election in October. Polls suggest the ruling Liberals could have trouble winning a second consecutive parliamentary majority.
By David Ljunggren
OTTAWA (Reuters) - The Canadian government will unveil its budget for the 2019/20 fiscal year on March 19 and outline ways to provide more access to prescription drugs, Finance Minister Bill Morneau said on Wednesday, confirming a report from Reuters.
The budget is the last before a federal election in October. Polls suggest the ruling Liberals could have trouble winning a second consecutive parliamentary majority.
"We're going to talk about our twin goals of ensuring that our pharmaceutical system is both appropriate in terms of its costs and that we find a way for better coverage for all Canadians," Morneau told reporters.
Reuters reported on Jan. 31 that the budget would propose a limited expansion to the universal healthcare system in the budget to cover part of the cost of prescription drugs. Although Canada has a publicly funded health care system, prescription medication is largely covered by private insurance and public plans that are geared primarily toward the old and the very poor.
"We have a system that doesn't provide all Canadians with access," Morneau said.
The Liberals came to power in late 2015 promising to run modest budget deficits to help fund investments in the economy. The party now declines to say when the budget will be balanced.
Last October the government forecast the 2018-19 deficit at C$18.1 billion ($13.76 billion), smaller than the revised C$18.8 billion in the February 2018 budget.
"We believe it's very important for us to continue to be fiscally responsible and that will be demonstrated in our budget," Morneau said.
When pressed about the continuing deficits, Liberals say that a more important indicator is the debt-to-GDP ratio, which is forecast to continue dropping gradually.
(Reporting by Julie Gordon in Ottawa; Editing by Peter Cooney and Leslie Adler)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States
BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.