Quebec defends decision to issue inflation relief while asking Ottawa for more health funds


Quebec’s decision to give most residents a second money fee to assist them cope with inflation is not a motive for Ottawa to deny the province extra health-care funding, Finance Minister Eric Girard argued Wednesday.

The funds of up to $600 will assist Quebecers pay for speedy wants, like groceries, housing, clothes and transportation, that are quickly rising in value, he stated. Health care, in the meantime, wants steady, long-term funding, he added.

“It’s our responsibly to assist Quebecers deal with the rise in inflation — the important wants are speedy,” Girard advised reporters in Quebec City, describing the transfers as an “distinctive” measure. 

The funds, which might be distributed in December to the 6.5 million Quebecers who earned up to $104,000 in 2021, will value round $3.5 billion.

Quebec Premier François Legault is handing out cash as he and the opposite leaders of Canada’s provinces and territories are asking Ottawa to improve federal health-care transfers to 35 per cent from 22 per cent, a rise that may give Quebec a further $6 billion a 12 months.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau this week criticized provinces which can be searching for more cash from Ottawa for health care while spending billions of {dollars} in inflation-related funds or tax cuts. Legault made a alternative to ship cash to residents slightly than spend it on one thing else, Trudeau stated.

“If a authorities is making the selection to ship cheques to residents slightly than put money into the health-care system, it’s a alternative that may have to be justified to the residents,” he stated. “But for me, we might be there to assist with the health-care system.”

A day earlier than on a go to to New Brunswick, Trudeau additionally criticized inflation funds and tax cuts.

“There is not any scarcity of cash within the provincial methods if they’re sending cheques to the individuals who want it least or giving tax cuts to the wealthiest,” Trudeau advised reporters in Oromocto, N.B.

New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs is reducing taxes for excessive earners, while Quebec has promised revenue tax cuts in 2023. Saskatchewan and Newfoundland and Labrador have additionally introduced plans to ship money to residents in response to inflation.

Quebec’s support is supposed to assist folks cope with rising prices for on a regular basis wants, like groceries. (Ivanoh Demers/Radio-Canada)

Different duties for provinces

Girard stated he would not assume Trudeau’s argument is an effective one.

“It’s not as a result of the Quebec authorities helps residents deal with the rise in the price of dwelling that the health transfers mustn’t improve; the argument doesn’t maintain up,” he stated.

Provincial and federal governments have a number of duties, Girard stated, including that Ottawa not too long ago introduced new funding for a dental care program. “Why does the federal have funds for a brand new health program when the prevailing packages are usually not sufficiently funded?”

Since the late Nineteen Seventies, Girard stated, the federal share of health-care funding has steadily declined.

“What is plain is that the proportion of the funding for health care that’s assumed by the federal authorities has gone down over time and can proceed to go down,” he stated.

Health care is now 43 per cent of Quebec’s price range, with prices rising by round 5 per cent a 12 months, he stated.

Legault on Wednesday blamed Ottawa for the dearth of progress in health-care funding negotiations between the federal authorities and provincial and territorial health ministers.

“I can not consider that Mr. Trudeau is saying that ‘Mr. Legault should not assist Quebecers deal with inflation,”‘ the premier advised reporters in Quebec City.

Girard, in the meantime, stated he would not anticipate Quebec to make a 3rd fee; the federal government transferred $500 earlier this 12 months to Quebecers who earned $100,000 or much less. The finance minister stated he expects inflation to cease rising as financial development slows, including that he thinks there’s a 50 per cent probability Quebec’s financial system might be in recession in 2023.


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