Premier Brian Pallister warns that it’s pointless for anyone to monitor the progress of a provincial health deal with Ottawa, but insists anything he signs won’t be adequate.
Manitoba continues without a health-care funding agreement, more than two months after the federal government convinced three remaining holdout provinces to sign their own deals.
“There is an old adage that says there are some things you should not watch being made; there would be wieners, there would be law, and I would add federal-provincial negotiations,” Pallister said on Wednesday.
The premier says negotiations are still happening, but regardless of what his government will eventually agree to, it won’t be good for Manitobans.
“You’re asking me, have I negotiated a deal with Ottawa? My answer would be it’s a bad deal. And it’ll continue to be a bad deal whether 10 provinces sign it or nine,” Pallister said.
He said he expects other premiers will tell him the same in the next two years or so, as health-care costs grow and Ottawa’s contribution doesn’t keep up.
Ottawa outlasted a common front of the big provinces, all hoping to increase their annual share of the Canada Health Transfer by 5.2 per cent.
Nine of 10 eventually signed their own deals with the feds.
Pallister’s holdout status on health has created a back and forth with Ottawa that has spilled over into other projects, including a high-tech research facility that the federal government promised to fund.
The Factory of the Future research money was restored, but Pallister remains defiant and has yet to agree to any offer made by the Liberals.
“It’s a side deal and a trade-off, as it is with any deal. I’ve been very clear, as has my health minister, and other premiers at various times, that this is not a good proposal. This is not a sustainable proposal for health…