Pierre Poilievre pledges to honor Trudeau’s health care funding offer to prime ministers

Pierre Poilievre pledges to honor Trudeau’s health care funding offer to prime ministers

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OTTAWA — Pierre Poilievre says he would respect the health care increases Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has promised the provinces if his Conservatives form the next government.

Poilievre pledged after Trudeau proposed to increase health transfers by $17 billion over previous promises and provide an additional $25 billion over the next decade through individual agreements with provinces .

“We will honor him,” Poilievre told reporters before meeting with his caucus on Wednesday.

The Conservative leader echoed criticism from some premiers that the overall increase fell far short of provincial and territorial leaders’ expectations after years of complaints that Ottawa was not paying its fair share of health care costs.

Poilievre did not say on Wednesday whether the Conservatives shared the premiers’ belief that more federal spending was needed to fix health care and whether his party was prepared to meet their demands. His silence prompted attacks from federal New Democrats.

Speaking to reporters, Poilievre pointed out that under the former Conservative government of Stephen Harper – which he served until he lost power to Trudeau in 2015 – provincial health transfers have increased by 6% per year.

The agreement he was talking about had been negotiated by the former Liberal government of Paul Martin.

Trudeau this week invited all 13 provincial and territorial leaders to Ottawa to present an offer that would increase remittances to the provinces by a total of $196 billion over the next 10 years.

Despite their stated disappointment, many prime ministers have signaled their willingness to accept the offer, as Trudeau has said he wants to start negotiations on individual deals.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on February 8, 2023.

Stephanie Taylor, The Canadian Press


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