EVEN as BC Liberal Leader Kevin Falcon lashed out at Premier John Horgan and the NDP government after being sworn in as an MLA, the NDP hit back by bringing up yet another part of his previous political record.
The NDP noted that when in 2011, Stephen Harper’s Conservative government announced plans to reduce annual increases to the Canada Health Transfer, finance ministers from nearly every province opposed the cut.
Falcon was the cut’s only supporter: “From B.C.’s perspective, we think certainty is good thing.”
The NDP pointed out that this cut has cost British Columbia billions in healthcare funding. Horgan has been leading the fight to ensure the federal government makes its share of healthcare investments.
Falcon recently diminished the federal role in healthcare funding: “Frankly they only fund about 10% of the health care budget. They’re a minor player in this whole thing.” (CHNL, May 2nd)
The NDP said that in fact, the federal government funds 22% of healthcare costs. The provinces are pushing the federal government to increase that to 35%.
It noted that Falcon has a track record of cuts to healthcare, including:
- As Health Minister in 2009, he forced health authorities to absorb $360 million in cuts.
- As Finance Minister in 2012, he squeezed healthcare funding even further.
Here’s how provincial Finance Ministers reacted to the federal funding cut:
Ontario Finance Minister Dwight Duncan: “a frontal attack on public health care.” (Globe and Mail)
Quebec Finance Minister Raymond Bachand: “totally unacceptable.” (CBC)
Manitoba Finance Minister Stan Struthers: “It’s a lump of coal.” (Globe and Mail)
Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall: “Frustrating.” (CBC)
PEI Finance Minister Wes Sheridan: “I couldn’t quite believe what we were seeing.” (Globe and Mail)
Nova Scotia Premier Darrell Dexter: “profoundly disappointing.” (CBC)
BC Finance Minister Kevin Falcon: “I appreciate that certainty. Obviously some of my colleagues feel differently.” (Globe and Mail)