Smith joins premiers in Ottawa to talk to Trudeau about health care, just transition
Canada’s premiers are in Ottawa to meet with the prime minister over access to more health care funding.
With hospitals and health care facilities in crisis mode, many appear ready to accept a deal with Ottawa – even if it comes with strings attached.
But that’s not all Alberta Premier Danielle Smith has on her mind.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will spend two hours Tuesday pitching a proposal to aid in stabilizing health care to Canada’s premiers.
“We will be there, putting more money on the table, but it’s also important to make sure the focus is on results and outcomes for Canadians, including with better use of health data, more supports for people where they need them across the country,” Trudeau said.
Sources tell CTV News that Ottawa could offer up a 10-year plan.
The premiers are hopeful the proposal will see the Canada Health Transfer increase from 22 per cent to 35 per cent.
But Manitoba’s premier, speaking on behalf of all premiers, says she has yet to see the proposal and does not expect a final deal to be reached this week.
“It will be difficult to really get into the weeds of what that proposal looks like for each of our jurisdictions. But, you know, tomorrow is, I think, a step in the right direction to be able to sit down and have that conversation – that continued dialogue.” Heather Stefanson said.
Smith says not only does she want a health care deal, but also to see an end to proposed just transition federal legislation.
“What I am interested in seeing is the prime minister to back down on some of the language he’s used,” Smith said.
“Just transition, everyone knows, is signal for phasing out our industry. We are not going to be phasing out our energy industry. We’re going to be reducing emissions, and if he wants to work with on that then I am happy to.”
Friends of Medicare is hopeful that Smith and Trudeau’s politics do not muddy the waters in securing a beneficial deal for Alberta.
“We’re calling on the federal government and the premiers and the premier of Alberta to be grown-ups at the table and really talk about what Albertans need,” said Chris Galloway for Friends of Medicare.
“We have premiers across the country, including in Alberta, whose priority has been to privatize, not help the public system. We don’t want to write them a blank cheque to allow them to accelerate those plans.”
Smith says she plans to meet with other premiers this week, looking for common ground.
They hope the health care deal will address staffing shortages, reduce surgery backlogs and modernize health data.
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