Trudeau says no to increase in health transfers

Justin Trudeau refused the request of the common front of the provinces led by François Legault: he does not intend for the moment to increase health transfers. The premier of Quebec comes out “very disappointed”.

• Read also: Health: Trudeau says he is committed to increasing the federal contribution to the provinces

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« The provinces and territories will fight to the end so that the federal government does its fair share for the financing of health care », launched Mr. Legault Thursday evening, at the end of a round of federal-provincial negotiations. which ended in a refusal from Ottawa: no question of discussing it before the end of the pandemic.

However, the provinces’ proposal was « reasonable », he says: they are asking for an increase in health transfers of $ 28 billion per year, to increase the federal government’s share of health spending from 22% to 35%.

  • Listen to Caroline St-Hilaire and Antoine Robitaille’s analysis with Benoit Dutrizac on QUB Radio:

But Justin Trudeau does not intend to open this site before the end of the pandemic, he wishes to have « more clarity on the challenges facing our health system and our economy ».

And if it gives more money to the provinces, it wants agreements with conditions, such as national rules for long-term care centers, for example.

For the Government of Quebec, this is not acceptable. But other provinces could break rank.

“I made sure that all the provinces signed up to our consensus and then did not negotiate deals bilaterally separated. At the same time, I know the little history of Quebec, ”admitted François Legault.

He himself says that we have to be “careful on the common front” – the “small provinces” could falter – but he trusts Ontario Premier Doug Ford.

« Missed date »

Despite this « missed meeting », François Legault intends to keep the pressure on Justin Trudeau, who heads a minority government. He will not hesitate to solicit the opposition parties. And the election deadline could make the Liberal Party of Canada more generous.

The provinces’ argument: the health budget is growing faster than revenues. Ottawa is not under this financial pressure.

Budget balance

“Despite its significant deficit, the federal government should, within ten years […] return to budget balance. When we add up the situation of all the provinces and territories, we should, if nothing is changed, end up with an annual structural deficit of more than $ 100 billion per year, ”said Mr. Legault.

And the situation is already glaring: Quebec hopes to obtain $ 6 billion more from Ottawa annually, and is counting on this amount to return to a balanced budget within five years.

– With the collaboration of Émilie Bergeron, Agence QMI

What they said

«  We will continue to meet to talk about how we can ensure better long-term funding for the health system with transparency and accountability to Canadians. « 

– Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada

«  [Trudeau] does not even want to have a second meeting in the short term […] well it’s disappointing and then it’s a missed appointment. « 

– François Legault, Premier of Quebec

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