Quebec disappointed federal budget didn’t increase health transfers

In the wake of Monday’s federal budget announcement, reaction continues in Quebec with one major omission, according to the province — increased health transfer payments.

Canadian provinces united, the premiers formed a common front, but Monday, the federal government did not heed the call. It tabled a budget with more than $100 billion in new spending, but there was no increase to health transfers to provinces.

“We’re disappointed. It was the number-one ask of all provinces and territories, unanimous, number one, top of the list, and they did not address it,” said finance minister Eric Girard.

Canadian premiers called for an increase in the federal contribution from 22 to 35 per cent, which translates to $28 billion, including $6 billion for Quebec. Without that, Quebec is looking at seven straight years of deficits before it can return to a balanced budget.

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Read more: Federal budget will help Montreal’s post-pandemic recovery, city says

Instead, Ottawa decided to invest in a national $10-dollars-a-day child-care program.

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The Parti Québécois (PQ) said Quebec is getting cheated.

“We’re basically, within Canada, taking our money, sending it to Ottawa, and then Ottawa tells us: ‘You want $6 billion that is owed to you for the health system? No, you’re not going to get it, we’re too busy making programs that already exist in Quebec, ‘” said PQ leader, Paul St-Pierre Plamondon.

Read more: Canada’s federal budget: A financial expert breaks it down

In Tuesday’s question period, the PQ also criticized Premier François Legault.

“The CAQ government had one demand for the federal government,” said MNA Pascal Bérubé, who added that if the premier is also the president of the Council of the Federation, how did he come back empty-handed?

But Legault said he hasn’t given up.

“There will probably be a federal election soon,” said Legault. “I think the parties in Ottawa will need the support of Quebec and Ontario.”

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Coronavirus: Premiers calling on federal government to provide more transfer payments for health care – Mar 4, 2021

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