After obliterating Canada's fiscal safety nets (multi year surpluses), Harper has set his aim at destroying Canada's environment, our First Nations, and now Healthcare. Read more in Ralph Goodale's weekly newsletter:
HARPER CANCELS FEDERAL ROLE IN HEALTHCARE
When he first came to power in 2006, Stephen Harper inherited a decade of surplus budgets, declining debt, declining taxes, and federal financial flexibility of $100 billion over five years.
It was an enviable position. The best in the western world.
Embedded in the fiscal framework was sufficient funding to implement the ground-breaking Kelowna Accord for Aboriginal people, achieve 80% of Canada’s international obligations on Climate Change, and launch a decade of rejuvenation in healthcare.
The Conservatives immediately cancelled work on Aboriginal issues and Climate Change. Consequently, Canada has become a global embarrassment on the environment, and we’ve spiraled downward from high Aboriginal hopes in Kelowna to the tragedy in Attawapiskat.
Most recently, healthcare too has been thrown under the bus.
Just before Christmas, Mr. Harper announced a new funding formula. Arbitrary. Unilateral. Non-negotiable. He’ll keep commitments Liberals put in place for three further years, but then cut back.
It’s dictatorial federalism, by brute force.
A couple of Premiers, like Saskatchewan’s Brad Wall, were hoping certain things could still be discussed with the feds – like healthcare innovation. But just before the Premiers met last week in Victoria, Mr. Harper bluntly told them all to get stuffed.
The biggest problem is not his typical crudeness, or even the short-term money he put on the table. The biggest problem – and danger – is Mr. Harper’s ruthless abandonment of any creative federal role to help make medicare better.
He says that’s exclusively a provincial problem. All the feds should do, according to him, is write a cheque – one, incidentally, that represents a steadily declining share of healthcare costs – and that’s it. Don’t even discuss anything substantive.
This attitude is absolutely guaranteed to fragment and balkanize Canadian medicare, creating a patchwork among provinces, and leaving many Canadians vulnerable.
In Stephen Harper’s Canada, it’s more important to spend billions on bigger jails.