Summit on health transfers: Ottawa has « no more excuses », says the Bloc

Emilie Bergeron, The Canadian Press

OTTAWA — The Bloc Québécois is urging Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to convene a summit to discuss the increase in health transfers demanded by all the provinces, arguing that Ottawa can no longer hide behind the excuse of having to respond to a health emergency.

Opposition House Leader Alain Therrien said Monday that Trudeau said he was ready to have conversations about a possible increase, but wanted to wait until after the COVID-19 crisis.

“If, according to him, the crisis is behind us enough to suspend health measures, when will he, then, convene a summit on health transfers?”, he launched during question period, referring to the announced lifting of border restrictions and mask-wearing requirements on planes and trains.

Mr. Therrien added that the federal Prime Minister had “no more excuses” and had to keep his word.

Mr. Trudeau replied that discussions have been underway “for months now” with the provinces, but that “Quebecers and all Canadians expect to see results”.

“It’s not just money it takes, it’s results. And that is why we are in discussion with the provinces to ensure that new investments will really go and help the population, ”he pleaded.

He did not fail to highlight the one-time investments made by the federal government to help provincial health systems throughout the pandemic.

Provincial and territorial premiers have been united for several years to demand an increase in federal health transfers that would increase Ottawa’s contribution from 22% to 35% of costs. For Quebec, this would represent an increase of $6 billion.

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