Tag: Health transfers

Diary of a plague week: Gifts and Grifts

Not wanting to look a gift horse in the mouth but I couldn’t help being conflicted on hearing that we seniors are about to get a tax-free $300-$500 pandemic pension top-up. No doubt those who’ve endured financial stress as a result of COVID-19 will welcome the modest windfall. The fortunate ones who feel they don’t need the cash are free to give it away. What really struck me about the gift to seniors was the estimated cost – $2.5 billion. Although a relatively modest addition to the more than $150 billion in pandemic-related program spending already announced, the pension...

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Kenney’s “equalization rebate” grabs the spotlight

It was Alberta time again in Ottawa with the province’s demands for a re-jigging of the previously obscure Fiscal Stabilization Program (FSP) dominating coverage of this week’s annual meeting of Canada’s finance ministers. Other longstanding issues – such as increased health transfers – were shoved into the background as attention was focused on Alberta’s appeal for $2.4 billion from the feds. Also known the “equalization rebate,” the potential payout is being framed as a peace offering to the demons of western alienation, an opportunity for the Trudeau government to connect its money with its post-election soothing words. The FSP,...

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Finding the bright side in the Premiers’ dreary performance

The annual premiers’ conference, hogging much of last week’s national political spotlight, came off as a polarizing affair. The tone was set in advance when Alberta’s Jason Kenney invited some of his fellow resistance fighters[i] (premiers Doug Ford and Scott Moe and newbies Blaine Higgs and Bob McLeod from the Northwest Territories) to a special pre-conference photo-op in Calgary. There the gang of five (in Doug Ford’s characterization “like-minded premiers that want their provinces to thrive”) flipped pancakes at a Stampede breakfast and complained about the federal government in general and Justin Trudeau’s carbon tax in particular. When the...

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McNeil trying to re-write history of bad health deal

The fall session of the Nova Scotia legislature wrapped up Thursday – not with a whimper but a crack – as the government ignored opposition and expert advice and whipped through its flawed cyber bullying and adult capacity legislation. Those bills, along with a gormless cap-and-trade bill that will leave everything to cabinet regulation, were the dubious legislative highlights of the session. Question period and a lot of the budget debate were dominated by health care and its mismanagement. Given that health care also monopolized the recent Nova Scotia election, one might have expected more attention directed to the diminished federal...

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Health debate makes a blip on the campaign radar

The much-anticipated (by some) debate on health transfers put in a cameo in the federal election campaign this past week. On Wednesday the Liberals finally added a health care plank to their platform, promising $3 billion over four years for improved home care and an additional unspecified amount to reduce the cost of prescription drugs and expanded mental health programs. Justin Trudeau also promised to negotiate a new health funding accord with provincial leaders, but did not commit to maintaining a 6% annual increase in the health transfer past its scheduled expiry date of March 31, 2017. The NDP,...

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Richard Starr, The man behind the Point

About Richard

RICHARD STARR has had careers as a journalist, public servant, broadcaster, political staffer and freelance policy adviser. He is author of numerous newspaper and magazine articles, a former radio and TV producer and weekly newspaper editor, and the author of three non-fiction books. Starr has lived in Dartmouth for more than 30 years.

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