Premiers demand meeting with Trudeau to discuss long term health funding

OTTAWA – Canada’s provincial and territorial leaders want face time with Justin Trudeau to discuss health care funding — and they want a commitment from Ottawa before they’re willing to talk about climate change, a federal Liberal priority.

Yukon Premier Darrell Pasloski, the current chairman of the group representing the premiers of Canada’s 10 provinces and three territories, lays out the Council of the Federation’s demands in a Sept. 15 letter to the prime minister.

In the letter, obtained by The Canadian Press, Pasloski says if the meeting doesn’t happen, the Liberals should put off plans to change the formula that determines annual increases in federal health-care transfer payments.

Pasloski notes that the premiers asked Trudeau for a meeting on long-term health funding in July, but haven’t heard back.

His letter says the premiers are looking for a “spirit of collaboration” from the federal government and want a meeting with Trudeau “solely dedicated to long-term health financing.”

The premiers say changes in the funding formula that are scheduled to start in fiscal 2017-18 could cost them $1 billion next year alone.

“With the 2017-18 federal budgetary cycle beginning in the coming weeks, it is important that first ministers act before these changes begin impacting Canadians,” Pasloski writes.