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NEWS: Premiers to meet – without Harper – in Halifax this week

Postmedia News reports, “Canada’s 13 premiers convene in Halifax this week for a key meeting on the state of the national and global economies — a gathering they say should have included Prime Minister Stephen Harper. …In Halifax on Thursday and Friday, premiers and territorial leaders look to forge a united front and craft some solutions to spur the sluggish Canadian economy. …Notably absent will be the prime minister, who earlier declined the premiers’ invitation to attend…” The article adds, “All provinces are concerned about the federal government’s decision a year ago to scale back the size of increases in annual federal health transfers, Ontario Finance Minister Dwight Duncan said…”

But the provinces need to be more than “concerned” as Ontario’s finance minister puts, they need to act. To raise the profile of our concern and this demand, the Council of Canadians is raising funds to place a newspaper ad that will appear in the Chronicle-Herald newspaper while the premiers are in Halifax.

Council of Canadians health care campaigner Adrienne Silnicki states, “The premiers know that without federal leadership on healthcare, medicare cannot be protected, strengthened, or extended. By missing this meeting, Harper is showing that he doesn’t believe in our universal health care.”

As such, we believe that the premiers need to take action – such as saying ‘no’ to Harper’s push on the Canada-European Union free trade agreement that would add billions of dollars in costs to provincial health care budgets every year – to send the message to Harper that they have leverage and that he must fulfill the federal government’s responsibility to adequately fund public health care across the country.

For more information on our campaign to protect and expand public health care in Canada, please see http://canadians.org/healthcare/.