You are here

Healthcare privatization: the feds are in on the con

john Bell

February 23, 2023

Those who naively call on the federal government to put a stop to provincial healthcare privatization need to give their head a shake.

As concerns over our crumbling, underfunded health system rise, a new agreementbetween Justin Trudeau and Doug Ford has been reached.

Ontario will receive just shy of $74 billion over the next 10 years. That includes a one-time top-up of $776 million to address backlogs in children’s hospitals, ERs and surgery wait times.

A similar deal was reached with the maritime provinces. Negotiations with the rest are ongoing

Not all the details have been announced, but it looks like there is no stipulation that the new money be devoted to the public system. Instead there is double talk about future “reviews”, while federal officials negotiate separate deals with each province that recognize the “special needs” of each.

Healthcare advocates had been hoping the Liberals would call the premiers’ bluff and offer them new money only on the stipulation that it not end up funding more for-profit clinics and services, take it or leave it. 

Instead the agreement confirms that Ottawa has no intention of defending public healthcare from privatization. After all, it was the Liberals in the Chretien/Martin era that opened this Pandora’s Box. On February 27, 1995 Finance Minister Paul Martin delivered a budget that massively slashed transfer payments to the provinces earmarked for health, education, housing, etc. Why did the premiers of the day accept it? The key to the deal was the quiet removal of regulations about how the money had to be spent.

In short, the premiers accepted the immediate funding cut in return for much greater provincial autonomy and power. So now, when Doug Ford take money from the feds supposedly for affordable daycare, that may end up funding a new highway in suburbia instead. And Trudeau just shrugs and says, not my fault.

So don’t be fooled in the coming days when Ford and his Health Minister Sylvia Jones take to the airwaves to brag about new money for their “publicly funded” health system. They don’t mean universal public healthcare. They mean directing tax money – your money – toward the expanding corporate health sector. Then those for-profit businesses will charge you a second time for the services the public system used to provide.

People are right to direct their fury over the theft of our healthcare at premiers like Ford. But don’t let the federal government off the hook – they’re in on the scam.

Action Alert Toronto: join the protest against Ford’s government of corruption and greed. Saturday, February 25, 11 AM, gather at Queen’s Park North (just south of the ROM subway stop). Defend Indigenous rights! Protect the Greenbelt! Save our healthcare!

Geo Tags: 

Featured Event



Visit our YouTube Channel for more videos: Our Youtube Channel
Visit our UStream Channel for live videos: Our Ustream Channel