B.C. ‘disappointed’ with New Brunswick deal on health funding with Ottawa

By James Peters
December 22, 2016 - 2:11pm

KAMLOOPS — BC Health Minister Terry Lake says he is resolute in his desire to present a united front of the remainder provinces and territories to the federal government in negotiations for increased health transfer payments.

Ottawa had offered 3.5 per cent increases in transfers, plus $11 billion over 10 years for mental health and home care supports.

Lake says the three largest provinces - Ontario, Quebec and BC - are united in their opposition to Ottawa's divide-and-conquer approach and a deal he calls 'unacceptable.'

"Reality is that the deal would see the share of federal funding to health care go down over the 10 year period from about 23 per cent currently to about 20 per cent. That is unacceptable. The federal government used to contribute much more, up to 50 per cent of heath care costs," Lake told CFJC Today.

Lake adds provinces can't provide more mental health and home care supports with the extra funding if the feds are diminishing their share of the budget overall.

"It just means we have to take it from somewhere else, and that is clearly not acceptable."

He notes provinces have recommended a meeting between premiers and Prime Minister Trudeau to hash things out early in the new year.

"This divide-and-conquer strategy, I think, is destructive. They are trying to fool Canadians, particularly those who care about mental health, substance use, and home care issues."

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