WINNIPEG (TREATY 1) - Today, the premiers of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Yukon and the Northwest Territories met in Regina to further their demand for a $28 billion increase to federal health transfers.

The Manitoba Health Coalition (MHC) is dedicated to the protection and expansion of public health care under the principles (public administration, universality, comprehensiveness, accessibility and portability) and conditions (no extra billing, user fees or queue-jumping) of the Canada Health Act. As such, MHC and our sister organizations across the country are in agreement with the premiers on this issue. The Harper-era cuts to healthcare funding to the provinces, maintained by Prime Minister Trudeau, are unsustainable. Provincial and Territorial governments are right to call on the federal government to reverse Ottawa’s declining share of healthcare spending.

However, Premier Stefanson in particular would be on much firmer ground to make this argument were her government not deficit-spending to fund tax cuts - and if it had made any effort to maximize and invest the funding received from the federal government for COVID-19 initiatives. The government has made this funding difficult to track, as described by CCPA-Manitoba.

Therefore, we recommend that a new Health Accord be negotiated with increased federal funding and clear federal requirements for the spending and reporting of those funds. Increased federal funding for healthcare must not be used to pay down provincial deficits, cut taxes or further privatization schemes counter to the Canada Health Act.