Negotiating Healthcare Transfers : What Goes Around Comes Around

Montreal, December 19, 2016 – The Fédération des médecins spécialistes du Québec (FMSQ) agrees with the Government of Quebec : Canada must maintain healthcare transfers at their current level.

"Today, even though the Federal government has continuously disengaged itself financially over the years, it wants to impose standards and make its transfers conditional, all the while limiting their increase to 3%. Their position, a carbon copy of that of the Conservatives (in other words, rigid, without openness and non negotiable) is far from meeting the expectations of the population and goes against the principles of fairness and access to healthcare for everyone," the President of the FMSQ, Dr Diane Francœur, started by indicating.

It was in 1966 that the Federal government committed itself to take on 50% of the costs of the provincial and territorial health insurance plans as a counterpart to the adoption of the Medical Care Act, which became the Canada Health Act in 1984. Today, Canada's contribution barely covers 22% of provincial expenses in this crucial area.

At a time when Canada is preparing to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Confederation, the Federal government should remember the spirit and letter of its own Constitution in 1867. It should start by respecting the division into areas of competence and remember that, at the beginning, it had no direct taxation power and that its ability to spend was very limited. Today, it is using this power as a blackmailing tool.

"Despite the fact that we support the Government of Quebec's demands, we can't help but smile a little when we hear Gaétan Barrette reproaching Bill Morneau for a stance that he himself assumes towards us and other stakeholders in the network : waiting until the last minute, not negotiating, imposing his views and not respecting his partners. I hope that Gaétan Barrette realizes to which extent such a dogmatic attitude is counterproductive and a source of frustration and conflict. Indeed, Philippe Couillard should make a note of it," concludes Dr Francœur.

The Fédération des médecins spécialistes du Québec represents more than 10,000 medical specialists certified in one of 59 recognized medical specialties.