Stephen McNeil needs to stand up to Ottawa over health transfers

February 11, 2016

NDP Leader Maureen MacDonald is asking Stephen McNeil to stand up to the federal government on the issue of health care transfers to the provinces.

“Prime Minister Trudeau made a promise to negotiate a long-term agreement on health care funding that took into account the aging population of some provinces,” says MacDonald. “For Stephen McNeil to shrug his shoulders as the federal government sticks with Stephen Harper’s funding formula is just unacceptable.”

In 2014, Premier McNeil said “We’re very concerned about the adjustment that’s been made based solely on population. We think that formula is wrong. It’s not in the best interests of Nova Scotia and I don’t believe it’s in the best interests of Canada. The national government needs to play a role to ensure that a Canadian citizen, no matter where they live, has an opportunity to receive the same level of health care.”

Now, Stephen McNeil has changed his tune, saying “The funding formula on a per-capita basis is going to be very difficult for any government to make substantive changes to.”

Former parliamentary budget officer Kevin Page filed a report in 2012 indicating the federal government would be downloading $31 billion in future health-care costs to the provinces through the new formula.

MacDonald adds, “The health transfer formula as it currently stands is unfair and it’s extremely frustrating that Stephen McNeil is no longer willing to advocate for what is in the best interests of our province now that we have a Liberal government in Ottawa.”