Monday, January 18

A motion to demand an increase in health transfers

(Ottawa) The opposition parties in the House have joined forces to adopt a Bloc motion calling on the Trudeau government to improve health transfers to the provinces and territories before the end of 2020.

Melanie Marquis
Melanie Marquis

The motion sponsored by Chief Yves-François Blanchet was adopted by 176 votes to 148 in the House of Commons on Wednesday afternoon.

She won the support of members of the New Democratic Party and that of the Conservative Party, a party that had capped the increase in health transfers in 2011 in a decision taken unilaterally.

In the Liberal benches, we voted against.

During debate on the motion on Tuesday, Quebec lieutenant Pablo Rodriguez accused the Bloc Quebecois of seeking to sow discord.

“I must say that I find it deplorable and even find it a bit out of hand that the members of the Bloc Québécois want to make quarrels rather than work together for Canadians. I find it pocket. They are trying to create false chicanes with Quebec, but there are none, ”he dropped.

The motion to recognize the dedication of health care workers, but it also asks for a “significant and lasting improvement in Canadian health transfers before the end of 2020 in order to support the efforts of the governments of Quebec and the provinces, health and population ”.

It is not binding on the government of Justin Trudeau.

But its adoption provides additional ammunition to the premiers of the provinces and territories who are united on this issue. On Tuesday, the Premier of Quebec, François Legault, and the Ontario Minister of Finance, Rod Philipps, said they looked favorably on such a position taken in the Commons.

Since the Canada Health Transfer was reduced to GDP growth, a decision unilaterally made by Stephen Harper’s government in 2011, the provinces and territories are starving. When the deal was renegotiated in 2016, their common front crumbled after the Trudeau government divided them with piecemeal deals.

But in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Council of the Federation has identified the increase in the transfer as its top priority. “The structural imbalance in the way health services are funded in Canada has become unsustainable,” said Premier Legault, who is taking over the rotating presidency of the group of premiers this year, in late October.

The provincial and territorial premiers are asking the federal government to reduce the current level of the health transfer from 22% to 35%, or 28 billion more per year than they would be shared between them, without any conditions attached to the envelope. .

The lack of a commitment in this matter in the economic statement released Monday aroused their discontent. They have not been met by the pledge of “up to a billion” for long-term care centers, as this is conditional on the adoption of national standards.

The National Assembly has also disavowed the federal project in a unanimous motion on Wednesday. ” He [le premier ministre] has just received in the gums “his” contempt for its obligations towards Quebec and the provinces “, launched Yves-François Blanchet during the question period in the Commons, Wednesday.

Prime Minister Trudeau is meeting with his provincial and territorial counterparts on December 10. At a press conference on Tuesday, he assured that he remained open to discussion with his partners with regard to health financing.

The Bloc Québécois motion

The wording of the Bloc motion reads as follows:

That the House a) salute the extraordinary work of health care workers (including doctors, nurses and attendants) during the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly among the elderly, but also among the entire population; b) recognize the courage and sacrifices required both for themselves and their families to be on the front line; c) underline the work of Quebec and the provinces to respond to the health crisis and note the direct effects on their respective budgets; d) asks the government to significantly and sustainably increase Canadian health transfers before the end of 2020 in order to support the efforts of the governments of Quebec and the provinces, health workers and the population.

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