Premiers group responds to ‘menace’ on health-care funding

Manitoba Premier Heather Stefanson says she doesn’t reply to threats.

Stefanson, who chairs of the Council of the Federation — the group that represents Canada’s premiers — was responding Friday to a Star story that indicated Ottawa could also be keen to freeze sure provinces out of health-care transfers.

It’s a problem that’s been entrance and centre for provincial and territorial leaders who’re lobbying to renegotiate the Canada Well being Switch — federal cash distributed to the provinces on a per-capita foundation to assist fund well being care — whereas Ottawa has insisted that the subject shall be handled after the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I imply, that feels like a menace to me,” stated Stefanson throughout an interview Friday. “I don’t take care of these sorts of discussions. I’d moderately simply, , sit down and have a dialogue about what the long run is of well being care in our nation.”

Federal sources informed the Star’s Althia Raj this week that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wouldn’t sit down with the primary ministers till a framework for a deal is agreed on. The federal authorities will then meet with the provinces and territories to determine how a lot cash shall be given and beneath what circumstances.

Ottawa is trying to get an settlement in place by January, however the federal authorities might signal offers with some provinces whereas leaving others, like Saskatchewan, Alberta or Quebec, with out one, insiders informed the Star.

The Council of the Federation is in search of a rise within the federal authorities’s share of health-care funding, to 35 per cent from 22 per cent.

Nonetheless, in accordance with insiders, Ottawa isn’t able to inject the $28 billion that the primary ministers have demanded. These sources stated there shall be extra money however that it’s going to additionally include some circumstances.

That flies within the face of what provincial and territorial leaders have been asking for, which is cash despatched with none strings hooked up.

At Queen’s Park on Friday, Ontario Premier Doug Ford stated the provincial and territorial leaders all need the identical factor from Ottawa.

“Premiers of all political stripes stay united of their name for the federal authorities to correctly fund well being care on this nation,” Christine Wooden, Ford’s press secretary, stated Friday.

“The federal authorities paying their justifiable share would enable us to do much more in relation to hiring extra health-care staff, increasing dwelling and neighborhood care and constructing extra hospitals,” stated Wooden, noting Ford has labored carefully with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on many fronts lately.

“Whether or not it’s securing game-changing investments in electrical autos and batteries, transitioning to scrub inexperienced metal, or strengthening our place as a worldwide provider of essential minerals, we’ve proven that when governments work collectively we are able to ship actual options that profit folks.”

An official from the Alberta premier’s workplace additionally weighed in, saying “Well being transfers must be per capita, and there must be no strings hooked up … We don’t want the federal authorities to inform us what our priorities are or the best way to deal with them.”

With information from Althia Raj

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