Tuesday July 12, 2022 | VICTORIA, BC
by Mary P Brooke, B.Sc., Editor | Island Social Trends
Today Premier John Horgan opened the second day of chairing the summit-style Council of the Federation (COF) meeting, with a press conference at 9 am at the Fairmont Empress in downtown Victoria.
With more detail than was revealed yesterday, a list of priorities was unveiled: health care human resources, long term care, hoe care, mental health and substance use, pharmaceuticals, primary care, and digital and physical infrastructure.
That’s more meat on the bones than Canadians have heard until now. Until now the ask has simply been for more cash from the federal government to better fund the health care systems in all provinces and territories.
Though today Horgan said the health care system is more than component parts, but a fluid interplay of various types of service delivery.
Currently the federal government pays about 22 percent toward health care delivery by the provinces (evidently down from 35 percent about 15 years ago, and down from 50 percent in the original agreement). However, the federal government says it has given tax-levy permission to the provinces over the years, to raise tax revenue in additional ways (which the federal government includes in it argument that they are still honouring the 35 percent).
As it presently stands, the current ask of 35 percent would cost the federal government about $28 billion per year, according to federal government sources.
Short-term doesn’t cut it:
“Short-term one-time targeted funding cannot repair the foundations of our health care systems, but increased predictable and recurrent federal funding can make a direct and tangible difference in the lives of Canadians,” it was stated in today’s COF news release.
There will be another press conference later today at 2:30 pm.
At the table:
Present at the Council of the Federation Premiers table — from all the provinces and territories:
Chair John Horgan (BC), Vice-CHair Heather Stefanson (Manitoba); P.J. Akeeagok (Nunavut), Caroline Cochrane (Northwest Territories), Doug Ford (Ontario), Dr Andrew Furey (Newfoundland and Labroador), Francois Legault (Quebec), Blaine Higgs (New Brunswick), Tim Houston (Nova Scotia), Jason Kenney (Alberta), Dennis King (Prince Edward Island), Scott Moe (Saskatchewan), and Sandy Silver (Yukon),
Change in tone:
Today’s tone from BC Premier John Horgan as COF Chair seemed more frustrated and insistent. He himself is wrapping up his high-profile political career this fall, as he steps aside for a new leader of the BC NDP party.
He has oft-stated his desire to protect and improve the health care dream in Canada, often saying that universal health care sets Canada apart from “our cousins to the south” (referring to the USA where health care is basically an out of pocket expense for Americans).
Horgan hopes that rallying the most Conservative premiers along the lines of “we want more money” will at least gain him buy-in across the provinces and territories to keep battling at the national level.
Trudeau has said in the past year or more that he is willing to meet with the premiers to discuss health care funding.
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 still pitching for Canada Health Transfer increase (April 21, 2022)
CERB gets extended thanks to NDP pressure in minority scenario (June 15, 2020)