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Premiers urge Trudeau to meet with them ASAP on health-care funding

Premiers from all the provinces and territories are part of a group called the Council of the Federation, and they held a postelection meeting by phone Thursday to discuss their need for more money
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B.C. Premier John Horgan speaks in Vancouver, on Thursday, Sept.16, 2021. Canada's premiers are urging Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to meet with them at his earliest opportunity to discuss long-term, predictable funding for health care. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

CHILLIWACK — Canada's premiers are urging Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to meet with them at his earliest opportunity to discuss long-term, predictable funding for health care.

Premiers from all the provinces and territories are part of a group called the Council of the Federation, and they held a postelection meeting by phone Thursday to discuss their need for more money.

British Columbia Premier John Horgan chairs the group, and said the federal government has diminished its contribution to public health care for too long and must now increase its share of health costs to 35 per cent through the Canada Health Transfer.

The transfer currently provides 22 per cent of health funding, based on the size of a population.

Horgan said premiers want to meet with Trudeau before the throne speech or certainly by the end of the year.

He said publicly funded health care is the premiers' top priority as a fundamental part of Canadian society.

"We talked about tactics today," he said of the premiers' resolve to get more money for health care, something they'd discussed before the election.

"We did get a commitment from the prime minister to sit down and have a meeting separately focused on the Canada Health Transfer. The election intervened, the election has happened. Everything remains more or less the same so our expectation is the federal government, led by Prime Minister Trudeau, will convene a first ministers' meeting at an early opportunity."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 23, 2021.

The Canadian Press