“As long as Quebecers don't make it a priority, to ask the federal government to increase its health funding, it will be difficult to put political pressure on Justin Trudeau,” said François Legault on Monday. .
Prime Minister François Legault has admitted his inability to mobilize Quebec public opinion to force Justin Trudeau to fund more health care.
Mr. Legault said Tuesday that the subject of health care funding was difficult to explain to the population, which favors Mr. Trudeau.
In a press briefing, the Prime Minister pointed out that Quebecers send 40% of their taxes to Ottawa, which is inconsistent with the fact that the federal government funds only 25% of health care in the country, compared to 75% for provinces.
“I understand that it is complex,” he said. I think Mr. Trudeau takes advantage of this complexity. This is difficult to explain to Canadian citizens.
Premier Legault said he was looking for a way to rally public opinion to his observation.
“Until Quebecers make it a priority, to ask the federal government to increase its health funding, it will be difficult to put political pressure on Justin Trudeau,” he said.
Along with his counterparts at the Council of the Federation, Mr. Legault accepted, on Monday, the offer made last week by the federal prime minister. Mr. Trudeau granted an annual increase of $4.6 billion to the provinces, which were instead claiming $28 billion annually.
To the Liberal opposition, which highlighted its “failure”, Mr. Legault recalled in the House that he had enjoined Quebecers not to re-elect Mr. Trudeau in 2021. ” I suggested to Quebecers not to vote for Mr. Trudeau, he said. For what ? Because he did not want to increase health transfers and then because he did not want to give us more power in immigration. »
Last week, Mr. Legault had already acknowledged that Quebec's balance of power, to get more from Ottawa, lay in the next federal election.
Despite this rebuff, the Quebec Premier affirmed that he and his counterparts would continue to demand more funding from Ottawa. “We're disappointed, we'll keep making requests,” he said.
Despite this, Mr. Legault reiterated that Quebecers continue to receive 10 billion more than they send in taxes, as he claimed last fall. “Indeed, it is advantageous for the moment for Quebec”, he maintained.
The agreement ” unacceptable” on health care funding does not challenge the constitutional order, Liberal Interim Leader Marc Tanguay said Tuesday.
He invited Mr. Legault to put forward the demands of Quebec, which obtained an increase in its transfers of 1 billion dollars per year, while the request was 6 billion.
“There is a balance of power, in the population, in the National Assembly, to say that it does not pass, “said the Liberal leader.
According to Mr. Tanguay, the result depends on the negotiation skills of Mr. Legault.
“I don't think we need to open the constitutional file to say that this is a bad deal for Quebec,” he said.
PQ leader Paul St-Pierre Plamondon said the disappointing deal should prompt Mr. Legault to bring the option of sovereignty back into his arsenal against Ottawa.
“I think people have believed François Legault for a few years, but there, as the failures accumulate, but also as the contempt intensifies in relation to the choices or the differences of Quebec, we must ask ourselves the question of independence “, he declared.
The co-spokesperson of Québec solidaire, Manon Massé, for her part demanded that Mr. Legault undertake that the shortfall will not be not made up for by cuts to public services.
“My book is missing $5 billion,” she said. Maybe he'll get a couple more in bilateral talks, but as we speak, 5 billion are missing. How is this government going to assure the entire population of Quebec that when they need health care, there will be a response to the needs? »