The Quebec hamster on the Canadian Ferris wheel

The Quebec hamster on the Canadian Ferris wheel


The premiers of the provinces and territories have just met.

Unanimously, they ask Ottawa to increase its financial transfers so that its contribution to provincial health care spending jumps from 22% to 35%.

It was 50% when modern provincial health insurance plans were created.


François Legault specified:

“When we look at the Conference Board projections, the provinces in the coming years will find themselves with a deficit of $100 billion, $200 billion per year, while the federal government will end up with a surplus of $50 billion per year. […]. Growth is greater than income and it becomes impossible for the provinces to achieve it.”

Mr. Legault considers Ottawa's attitude “insulting” and even wonders why there is a federal Minister of Health.

An editorial in La Presse yesterday, not very suspicious of unbridled autonomism, noted:

“We shouldn’t have to argue that for very long. It's a matter of arithmetic. The provinces' health expenditures are increasing much faster than their revenues. For 20 years, they have generally increased by 5 to 6% per year. However, the annual increase in health transfers from the federal government is 3%.

A little riddle now. Read this:

“This dynamic of accelerated centralization and budgetary strangulation of the provinces is further facilitated by the growing and planned fiscal imbalance between the central government and the provincial governments. The first raises more taxes than its constitutional responsibilities justify, while the provinces have more limited resources, but manage sectors where costs are exploding, such as health […]”.

Who said that?

Premier Legault? Minister LeBel, in charge of our relations with the rest of Canada?

No, it was your humble servant, myself, in 2001, when I was Quebec's Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs.< /p>

More than 20 years ago.

François Legault was Minister of Education at the time.

A “separatist” fad?

Second riddle. Find the author of the following lyrics:

“Forget Lucien Bouchard and Jean Rochon. The real culprit behind hospital closures and deteriorating health care is Jean Chrétien. The Prime Minister (federal) is the only one who says he has no responsibility for this, but the reality is that the federal Liberal government has imposed 35% reductions in its transfer payments to the provinces under health and social programs”.

Lucien Bouchard was then premier of Quebec, Jean Rochon was minister of health, and Jean Chrétien was federal prime minister.


The author of his words?

Jean Charest, at the time a young federal deputy.

The date of this statement? May 7… 1997.

25 years later, same debate, same drivel, same dialogue of the deaf.

The Quebec hamster wears himself out in vain on the big wheel Canadian.

The Quebec hamster on the Canadian Ferris wheel