WEATHER ALERT

Sit tight for health announcement Thursday: premier

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Premier Heather Stefanson says her government will make an announcement Thursday on “concrete steps to strengthen Manitoba’s health system.”

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Premier Heather Stefanson says her government will make an announcement Thursday on “concrete steps to strengthen Manitoba’s health system.”

But she won’t give any hints.

In a statement late Wednesday — in the wake of provincial health ministers failing to get a commitment from the federal government to increase the Canada Health Transfer after two days of meetings in Vancouver — Stefanson said the PC government is taking action in this province “despite federal avoidance and inaction.”

MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES

Premier Heather Stefanson says her government will make a health care announcement Thursday.

As the current chair of the Council of the Federation, the alliance of premiers and territorial leaders, Stefanson has called on the federal government to increase its share of funding to the provinces to 35 per cent of health costs from 22 per cent.

The premiers launched a scathing multi-media ad campaign last month that blames the staffing crisis in public health care on a lack of federal funding.

The premiers have asked for a meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to talk about the Canada Health Transfer.

He hasn’t agreed to it, but federal Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos met with provincial health ministers in Vancouver to discuss the matter. It didn’t end well. Duclos pulled out of a joint news conference on the final day and accused the premiers of sending their health ministers to the meeting with “marching orders… not to make further progress” rather than to negotiate in good faith.

“As a result, the premiers are preventing all of us health ministers from taking concrete and tangible steps that would make an immediate difference in the daily lives of health workers and patients,” Duclos said.

On Wednesday, Stefanson pushed back on behalf of the premiers.

“Canadians want action, not empty federal posturing,” she said in an email.

“For over two-and-a-half years – despite many assurances – the prime minister has refused to even meet with Canada’s premiers to discuss the critical need for a new health care funding partnership. What could be more important than ensuring the sustainability of the health care systems that all Canadians rely upon, to ensure services are there for them when they need them?” she asked.

“There have been no actual federal proposals from the prime minister or Duclos,” the premier said.

carol.sanders@freepress.mb.ca

Carol Sanders

Carol Sanders
Legislature reporter

After 20 years of reporting on the growing diversity of people calling Manitoba home, Carol moved to the legislature bureau in early 2020.

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