Battle over health care continues between Quebec, federal health minister


The war of words between the federal and provincial governments over health care is continuing.

Monday, federal Health Minister Jane Philpott laid out her demands, which included a call for more innovative ideas and accountability measures in order for the provinces to ask for more money.

READ MORE: Health Minister Jane Philpott offers apology of sorts to provincial counterparts

“I need to hear how they want to do that before I can consider where there can be further investments,” she said.

“If we are going to make more investments, they need to go to health.”

Quebec Health Minister Gaétan Barrette said Tuesday that Philpott’s remarks were unfair.

READ MORE: Tense federal-provincial talks on health care underway

“We have done that, and I will speak for Quebec and in Quebec, we have done more than that because we entered in this transformation process before the Liberals got elected,” he said.

Barrette argued the federal government is offering provinces less money and imposing stricter conditions.

“It’s not about the conditions themselves,” he said.

“It’s about the fact we cannot go by that. It would be a significant breach to Quebec’s position to enter into such a process.”

All the same, Philpott insisted there will be no new money as the Liberals look to slash the current rate of increase to three per cent from six per cent, starting in April.

This has resulted in a standoff between the regional ministers and the federal government over the $3 billion in proposed federal funds for home care, including palliative care.

READ MORE: Provincial, territorial health ministers call for larger increase to federal health transfers

Quebec’s official opposition agrees the feds are out of line.

“I am one of the biggest critics of Dr. Barrette, saying he shouldn’t have given $5 billion a year to 20,000 people who are doctors and that money should have been spent on health,” said Jean-François Lisée, Parti Québécois (PQ) leader.

“But these are debates for Quebecers to have.”

Provincial representatives and organizations like the Canadian Psychological Association (CPA) are also calling for more money for mental health services to be negotiated into the deal.

READ MORE: Quebec health minister unveils plan to improve seniors care

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will meet with the premiers to continue to discuss a new health accord in December.

— With files from The Canadian Press.