Prime Minister François Legault invites Prime Minister Trudeau to meet and discuss health care – Montreal
Canada’s premiers concluded a second day of meetings in British Columbia, but were unsuccessful in securing a meeting with the federal government to discuss provincial health care needs.
Quebec Premier Francois Legault called on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to come to the table, instead of sending ministers to talk through the media, he said.
« We need to have a meeting, » Legault said. “It’s a real problem, it’s the biggest problem in Canada; so I don’t understand why Mr. Trudeau doesn’t want to meet with us.
On Monday, the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs told CBC that it would be “absurd” to increase federal health transfers.
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Dominic Leblanc added that Canada does not expect the money to be used to accumulate surpluses or send checks to people on the eve of an election.
« It’s a bit insulting to send Mr. Leblanc or Mr. Duclos to respond to our request, » replied Legault.
Leblanc’s comment did not sit well with other prime ministers either.
« There’s no one here trying to skimp on a health care budget and divert it somewhere else, that’s not the case, » Nova Scotia Premier Tim Houston said. “The only thing holding back progress on this is the willingness of the federal government to sit down and talk to us. That’s all we ask.
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Premiers gathered to demand more money from Canada in health transfers.
They want a 22% to 35% increase.
Legault says the province needs more federal money to keep new health care workers on the job.
“Provinces cannot continue to pay 78% of health care spending,” Legault said.
The Prime Minister blamed rising costs in an aging population and trying to keep pace with emerging technologies.
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Last spring, the Minister of Health of Quebec, Christian Dubé, presented a plan to overhaul the Quebec health system.
While Legault says they have enough funding to execute the plan, they’re struggling to sustain it long term.
“Currently, Quebec has implemented the actions necessary for our health reform. We are able to fund it, but there is a deficit in Quebec,” Legault told reporters in British Columbia.
“The problem we have is that Mr. Trudeau gave us one-time money. We used some of that money to hire new nurses, but if we’re going to pay those nurses for a long time, we need a partner.
Legault says it’s essential to sit down with the premier to discuss those needs and the rest of the provinces.
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