Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Wednesday December 21, 2016
Ottawa, provinces fail to reach a deal on health spending
Ottawa and the provinces have failed to reach a deal on health-care funding, despite a $11.5-billion pledge by the federal government to boost targeted spending on home care and mental health.
The federal government has now taken that offer off the table, Finance Minister Bill Morneau said Monday, and the Canada Health Transfer (CHT) spending increase will revert to 3 per cent a year as of April 1, 2017.
Morneau had told the provinces he was willing to grow that key federal transfer by 3.5 per cent each year over the next five years — at a value of roughly $20 billion — but the provinces balked.
“We came to the provinces with a significant offer of funds … We’re disappointed we weren’t successful,” Morneau told reporters.
Jane Philpott, Canada’s health minister, said the federal government’s money could have made a real difference in the lives of many Canadians.
“I woke up this morning feeling very hopeful, thinking about half a million kids that are waiting for care for mental health services and hoping to be able to give them good news today,” she said.
“We’re disappointed that the provinces and territories did not feel like they could accept this offer and that they couldn’t find ways to use these resources immediately, to be able to get care out to Canadians.”
Ontario Finance Minister Charles Sousa said while the provinces rejected the federal funding plan, it was Morneau who was responsible for ending the meeting early.
“There was an urgency to close the meeting off. We’re here, we desire an agreement, we need to come to a conclusion. Why have anybody attend if there’s nothing to negotiate or discuss?” Sousa said, adding Ottawa wasn’t willing to listen to evidence that its proposed funding plan would imperil the country’s health-care system. (Source: CBC News)