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Health deal meeting between Trudeau, prime ministers set for February 7



Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has invited premiers to Ottawa for a “working meeting” to discuss a health care funding deal on February 7, the latest sign that the federal, provincial and territorial governments are close to a deal.

Trudeau says he sent the invitation Wednesday morning and sees the meeting as a chance for the two sides to discuss in person a deal that would see both more funding for what the prime minister has previously called “stressed” health care. , if not broken”. – systems of care across the country, as well as key objectives for better service.

“It will be an opportunity to share with them our plans to support health care systems across the country, to hear their priorities for investment and to begin working together concretely to ensure that we are transparent how this money is being invested.” Trudeau said. “So Canadians can have confidence that they will receive the high-quality health care they deserve for years to come.

Momentum has been building towards a deal in recent weeks as premiers began to signal they would be willing to accept funding with strings attached, seeing them held accountable for delivering improved care in exchange for more dollars. federal.

The announcement comes as Trudeau and his ministers begin the third and final day of a pre-parliamentary cabinet retreat in Hamilton, Ont.

During their meeting, the issue of health funding has been a key point of discussion, along with the question of how the federal Liberals plan to pay for what is likely to be a multi-billion dollar commitment along with their backlog of promises. , being mindful of their pledge to be fiscally prudent given the risk of a recession.

Earlier this week, Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc said the federal government was aiming to sign long-term funding deals ahead of the presentation of the 2023 federal budget, and Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland indicated that despite economic uncertainty, they intend to move forward with their commitment to protect Canada’s health care system.

“We committed in our campaign platform to do our part to ensure that Canada’s health care system is strong. We will be true to those commitments, and I think it’s entirely appropriate that the federal government play the role its to ensure that our health care system is strong,” Freeland said, noting that Canadians also expect provinces to also use their “fiscal capacity” to also support the systems they all depend on.

In recent months, prime ministers have increased pressure for Trudeau to meet with them to discuss an increase, as hospitals and health care facilities appear to be in crisis.

Although work remains, talks on health care funding appear to have come a long way since November, when a one-on-one meeting between federal Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos and provincial health ministers ended in acrimony, with Duclos blaming breakdown prime ministers telling their ministers to stop negotiations. Last Friday, Duclos said the two sides had worked “very hard and pretty well” to get to this point.

During his year-end interview with CTV National News Editor-in-Chief and Senior Editor Omar Sachedina, Trudeau said that while the federal government was willing to send “billions more,” he would only pull up a chair “once he had the outlines of a agreement.”

If Trudeau secures a long-term funding deal, one of the outstanding questions would be whether it would be sustainable for the future or whether a future government at either level could look to scuttle the funding deal. Asked earlier this week if he would be willing to renegotiate or commit to supporting a federal-provincial health funding deal, Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre wouldn’t say.

More to come.




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