Tag: Fiscal transfers

Post-budget advice to feds: Show us the health care money

There was a lot packed into the 740 page near $500-billion federal budget tabled last Monday. Somebody counted 230 new spending proposals, the largest of which is the $30-billion over five years for childcare. That’s an important, long-overdue commitment but it wasn’t the most noteworthy thing about the budget. The big story is what’s missing from the longest, most postponed and verbose budget in Canada’s history. Notable in their absence were increased health transfers to the provinces and national pharmacare, while elder care was barely in evidence. To that big three of health care can be added proposals that...

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Update on health transfers: Conservative do a flip flop

Any momentum towards an improved deal on federal health transfers to the provinces seems to be slowing. First it was the Justin Trudeau government telling the provinces to wait. And now it seems the official opposition Conservatives are losing their enthusiasm for a sizeable increase in transfer payments. In an interview last week with Brunswick News, Conservative leader Erin O’Toole refused to be pinned down to a dollar or percentage increase in transfers. This represented an about-face from the startling position taken earlier by the deputy leader of the Conservatives, discussed here. Back in October, Manitoba MP Candice Bergen...

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Health transfer issue returns, wrangling to follow

The pandemic has changed some aspects of the political landscape and may affect many more. One thing that’s different is the debate about federal health transfers to the provinces. Although likely to be subject to political wrangling, an improved formula may be coming. This site is full of articles about this subject, but to save looking them up, here is a summary of the saga. Between 2004 and 2016 health transfers increased at the rate of six percent a year. In 2017, in a change imposed by the Harper Conservatives, the increase was capped at the lesser of three...

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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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The equalization history that Jason Kenney likes to forget

There was a predictable skirmish over the federal equalization program last week after Finance Canada announced the details of transfer payments to the provinces for 2019-20. The fact that Quebec received a $1.4 billion increase in equalization may have been enough in normal times to attract some negative comment from politicians whose provinces do not receive equalization. But these are not normal times and even though Parliament renewed equalization to 2024 earlier this year, the program is not likely to disappear as an issue. Alberta is facing an election in the coming months amid angst over low oil prices...

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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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