Rob, MLA Jenny Kwan and MLA Lana Popham mainstreeting for Lunar New Year in Victoria Chinatown.
On Day of Action, New Democrats say government should press Ottawa for more health funding talks
The Liberal government should be pressing Ottawa to continue with negotiations on a federal health transfer agreement, say the New Democrats.
“British Columbians support public health care, but with the federal government setting arbitrary limits to spending – limits that could cost British Columbia taxpayers more than half a billion dollars per year – our ability to effectively manage our health care system is impacted,” said New Democrat health critic Mike Farnworth.
“The B.C. Liberal government has been too passive in their approach to the federal government,” said Farnworth. “The risks of doing that are too high. We need the health minister to press Ottawa for more and better negotiations that reflect the needs of British Columbians.”
The current federal-provincial health-transfer agreement expires in 2014. The federal government has said that they will limit increases in federal transfers to nominal growth of the gross domestic product, and base funding on population. Because B.C.’s population is aging at a faster rate than some others, this funding formula will have a greater negative impact on this province than others.
The B.C. Health Coalition is participating in a national day of action to bring attention to the negotiations and to encourage the federal government to back away from its hardline, no-negotiation stance.
“Public health care is too important, and it’s counter-productive for one side to simply draw a line in the sand and refuse to go any further,” said Farnworth. “And one-size-fits-all cookie-cutter approaches are bound to create problems. “What we need is a respectful dialogue that reflects the unique challenges provinces such as ours face,” said Farnworth.
“Certainly, finding appropriate levels of funding is never easy, but as Adrian Dix has shown, health care funding has been relatively stable over the long term and we need to ensure that federal transfers meet B.C.’s needs.”