Premiers' demand for federal dollars through increased Canada Health Transfer must have strings attached to ensure it goes to improving health care for all
The Council of the Federation, made up of the 13 provincial and territorial premiers, are meeting tomorrow with a focus on their united push for an increase in the Canada Health Transfer that the Federal government provides. Over the past two years, many of the premiers have used the ongoing pandemic as a justification to call for an unconditional increase in health funding.
“Even during this global pandemic our provincial UCP government has repeatedly shown they can’t be trusted to prioritize our public health care system over their ideological push for corporate tax cuts, layoffs, funding cuts and privatization,” said Chris Gallaway, Executive Director of Friends of Medicare.
“Any increase in health transfers cannot be handed to provinces as a blank cheque. There must be strings attached to ensure funding actually goes towards improving our public health care, and is not used to replace current provincial funding or to facilitate further cuts and privatization.”
As the fifth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic continues, Alberta’s health system remains overwhelmed and on the brink. More surgeries have been cancelled, and Red Deer’s Hospital is being forced to divert most patients. National bodies such as the Canadian Federation of Nurses' Unions are raising the red flag on the staffing challenges now and into the future.
“Our hospitals are at a breaking point, surgeries are being cancelled, EMS is in crisis, and staffing shortages loom large, yet rather than respond to the COVID-19 public health crisis by supporting our public health care system, our provincial government has continuously used this pandemic as cover while they further privatize integral parts of it,” said Gallaway. “More federal health dollars are necessary, but Albertans need to know it will be spent where it’s really needed — on strengthening our public health care system for all.”
National organizations such as the Canadian Labour Congress, the Canadian Health Coalition, and others are calling for strings to be attached to any federal health care money provided to provinces, to ensure accountability and transparency on spending by the provincial governments. Friends of Medicare echoes those calls.
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