Monday July 11, 2022 | Island Social Trends
by Mary P Brooke, B.Sc. | Island Social Trends
Canada’s Premiers are meeting today July 11 and tomorrow July 12 in Victoria. The first meeting is being held this morning at the Songhees Wellness Centre in Esquimalt, with the rest of the meetings over two days being held at the Fairmont Empress in Victoria’s scenic downtown inner harbour area.
The weather is seasonally warm for this two-day set of meetings, with temperatures reaching the mid to high 20C’s tomorrow. Bright skies might be a good omen but the nearly no-breeze might mean ultimately no movement on the asks by the Premiers.
What the premiers want:
Canada’s 13 premiers want more money transferred from the federal government toward expenditure on health care. The provinces and territories want that revenue stream to come with ‘no strings attached’, allowing them to apply and expense the funds as they deem appropriate for regional needs in health care.
The ask would cost the federal government about $28 billion per year.
BC Premier John Horgan is Chair of the Council of the Federation (Canada’s Premiers) and is hosting the two-day meeting in Victoria.
The federal government seems willing to listen — and indeed Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said there would be discussion after the COVID pandemic is over. While the COVID virus is still out there (and in fact building another wave with the BA.5 Omicron variant), economics are back in action and a war-torn health care system is struggling to keep up with even basic pre-pandemic services.
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh — whose party signed a Confidence and Supply agreement with the federal Liberal government earlier this year — has a stake in the game. Singh said last week that ‘of course’ there should be conditions on a significant transfer of funds from federal to provincial.
Dr Katharine Smart, President of the Canadian Medical Association for 2021-2022, said today that the ‘front door’ of health care is primary care but that the business model for that is no longer working. Patients have ‘more complex’ needs now, especially as they age. Understanding where training and hiring is happening — and with data to support that — is key to moving forward with some level of success, she said today on CBC. Dr Smart is meeting with the premiers in Victoria today.
Media sessions in Victoria:
“I am delighted to welcome my colleagues, Canada’s Premiers, to the City of Gardens,” said British Columbia Premier John Horgan, Chair of the Council of the Federation.
The opening news conference will be at 2:45 pm on Monday July 11. The closing news conference is planned for the afternoon of Tuesday July 12.
Informing the public:
“In every province and territory, too many people are struggling with long waits and access to a family doctor. This must change. We’re fighting for a fair deal with Ottawa to make health care better for everyone,” said Premier Horgan in social media ahead of the two-day Premiers meeting.
A series of info-graphics was released with his statement:
“The problems Canadians experienced in accessing health care services during the pandemic have intensified strains in our health systems that will continue unless the federal government significantly increases its share of the costs of health care,” said Horgan.
“Canadians must have the confidence that their health care systems will provide the services they need. There can be no further delay in having this vital conversation with the federal government,” said Horgan.
Health care costs include workers, infrastructure like hospitals and other facilities, equipment, research and procurement of supplies. About 20 percent of people in BC don’t have a family doctor due to the payment structures for practitioners which now seem out of step with the times. Even work schedules in hospitals (where 12-hour shifts are often still the standard) don’t fit with today’s lifestyle needs of personnel and arguably don’t provide the best level of care from overworked staff.
- National Healthcare Survey February 4, 2022;
- Increasing The Canada Health Transfer will Help Make Provinces and Territories More Financially Sustainable Over The Long Term March 4, 2021;
- Health Care Cost Drivers in Canada: Pre- and Post-COVID-19 October 30, 2020;
- Rebalancing the Health Care Funding Partnership October 30, 2020.
Horgan is a master of political timing (turning his success with pandemic management into an NDP majority win in 2020, and likely influencing Trudeau to follow suit in 2021 … producing a similar result once the Confidence and Supply Agreement with the NDP was established this year).
Horgan very likely sees this as the most opportune time to rally premiers behind his political goal to help Canada maintain a universal public health care system. In his university days, Horgan was strongly politically influenced by Tommy Douglas, widely seen as the ‘father’ of universal health care in Canada.
Horgan will be stepping down as Premier later this year, as soon as the BC NDP choose a new leader. This is his decision due to his current health condition; he’s presently cancer-free after treatment for throat cancer, but doesn’t feel he has the energy for another six-year commitment. The next BC Provincial election is set for 2024.
Canada’s premiers to meet in Victoria July 11 & 12 (July 10, 2022)
NDP supports push for Canada Health Transfer increase (July 7, 2022)
Premier Horgan not seeking reelection in 2024 – announcement, comments, photos (June 28, 2022)
Looking back at Horgan on the west shore (Island Social Trends local photo album – June 28, 2022)
Who might replace Premier John Horgan as party leader (June 28, 2022)
Premier Horgan to grads: You are ready to build a better world (June 27, 2022)
Premier Horgan attends Sooke Community Sport Box grand opening (June 27, 2022)
Trudeau promises national network of EV charging stations (April 11, 2022)
Trudeau & Horgan: Omicron, Canada Health Transfer, disaster response (January 4, 2022)
===== ABOUT THE WRITER:
Mary P Brooke, B.Sc., Cert PR, is the founder and editor of Island Social Trends. She has been following the politics of Langford-Juan de Fuca MLA John Horgan since 2008 in the west shore. First through the quarterly south Island news insight MapleLine Magazine, then weekly as Sooke Voice News, then weekly print/PDF as West Shore Voice News, and since mid-2020 at the online news portal Island Social Trends.
Ms Brooke will be covering the two-day Council of the Federation meeting in Victoria, July 11 and 12, 2022.