Premiers unite in calls for federal boost to health care, economy, financial supports for provinces

TORONTO (NEWS 1130) – Canada’s premiers are making a united call for more help from the Trudeau government on issues like health care and economic struggles, as they wrapped up their first meeting since the federal election.

Health care was a top issue, and the premiers agree in their calls for the federal government to boost health transfers to provinces by just over five per cent. B.C. Premier John Horgan wants a cash commitment from Ottawa before expanding to pharmacare: “meaningful to our budget so we can deliver the healthcare that people need.”

The Premiers are also asking for an opt-out clause on any national pharmacare program, because not every province is in favour.

Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister says they need to fix the health care system before expanding it.

“Wait times in virtually every category have grown over the past three years, as this incremental strategy is failing Canadians,” he says.

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe says they want to see changes to the financial stabilization program, which gives aid to provinces seeing an economic downturn: “To better address the current inequities that exist.”

Alberta Premier Jason Kenny says amid concerns about national unity and frustration in the prairies, he is happy the other provinces agreed for calls to increase competitiveness and to boost the financial stability program.

“Showing that they understand the adversity Albertans are going through and focus on other parts of the country like Saskatchewan, and Newfoundland and Labrador. This was a tremendous moment of solidarity,” Moe says.

Northern priorities were also a priority.

There was no discussion of pipelines in the final communique, because there as no agreement. Quebec’s controversial Bill 21, which bans religious symbols in public service, wasn’t discussed either.

Now that they are united in their priorities, the hope is to meet with the Prime Minister in the new year.

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