B.C.'s Christy Clark calls for PM to meet with premiers on health transfers
Published Saturday, October 1, 2016 6:52PM EDT
Last Updated Saturday, October 1, 2016 8:04PM EDT
B.C. Premier Christy Clark said she rejects the federal government’s health care accord formula, calling the plan unacceptable.
Clark is calling for the prime minister to discuss health care transfers with the country's premiers, before moving ahead with the former Harper government's plan to limit increases starting next year.
The looming change to the health care accord would reduce the formula governing how much money Ottawa disperses to the provinces and territories each year. Each provincial and territorial government was guaranteed a six per cent increase in their transfers under a previous deal, but new measures slated for 2017 will cut that down to three per cent.
"We can't accept that," Clark told Evan Solomon, host of CTV's Question Period, in an interview to air on CTV News Channel Sunday at 11 am ET. Clark echoed the sentiments of a recent letter sent by the premiers to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, which called for a sit-down meeting with the prime minister to work out an alternative to the cuts. The cuts were originally introduced by the former Conservative government in 2011.
Clark said the only way to address the deal is for Trudeau and the premiers to "roll up our sleeves" and spend some time negotiating something that will work for everyone.
"We've got to work together," Clark said, calling the issue an "urgent priority" for every province and territory. "The federal government really needs to step up and not make those cuts."
Clark cautioned that the looming deal would cost her province $250 million in funding needed to pay for senior care, among other things. B.C. Health Minister Terry Lake echoed those sentiments earlier this week, saying there is "no question" the cuts will make it harder for the province to treat its aging population.
The provinces have been pushing for a change to the looming accord since it was announced in 2011, while expressing similar concerns about how they will be able to keep up with their health care needs.
Federal Health Minister Jane Philpott told Question Period last week that she has "no reason to believe" the Liberals will change the arrangement. "That conversation is largely a conversation between finance ministers," Philpott told Evan Solomon, host of Question Period. "I do not intend to push for an increase in the escalator," she added.