The Globe And Mail

Bernier seeks end to $40-billion in social, health transfers to provinces
The Globe and Mail

Calling for an end to $40-billion in social and health transfers to the provinces, Maxime Bernier is criticizing his own government’s policies in areas of provincial jurisdiction. The Conservative MP is planning to further his credentials as a fiscal conservative who would revolutionize Ottawa and oversee a radically smaller federal apparatus.

“Instead of sending money to the provinces, Ottawa would cut its taxes and let them use the fiscal room that has been vacated. Such a transfer of tax points to the provinces would allow them to fully assume their responsibilities, without federal control,” Mr. Bernier says in a copy of his speech obtained by The Globe and Mail, laying out a series of goals for his party.

In addition to these two transfers, Mr. Bernier’s speech says he would cancel all federal programs in areas of provincial jurisdictions in a bid to return to the original intentions of Canada’s Constitution of 1867. “The federal government today intervenes massively in provincial jurisdictions, and in particular in health and education, two areas where it has no constitutional legitimacy whatsoever. This is not what the Fathers of Confederation had intended,” he says in the text.

By removing any federal role in the handling of health care, Mr. Bernier’s speech says, the provinces could no longer blame Ottawa for their problems, and would be forced to find innovative solutions. And without the hammer of the Canada Health Act, the provinces could expand the role of the private sector in the delivery of health care.