Montreal Gazette

Quebec, Ottawa reach deal on health transfers


Ottawa and Quebec announced a deal in principle on federal health transfers Tuesday, hours after the Parti Québécois called for a common front of provincial political parties to pressure the federal government.

The deal, confirmed by both government­s, is worth $900 million a year over 10 years. Premier François Legault's office said it is asymmetric­al and without conditions.

Legault had been pushing back on conditions Ottawa wanted to impose.

The federal government a little more than a year ago it would transfer an additional $196 billion to the provinces and territorie­s for health care over 10 years. Quebec is the last province to sign on.

To receive the money earmarked for 2023-2024, Quebec must sign the agreement before the end of the month.

Earlier, PQ Leader Paul St-pierre Plamondon said Quebec was “at an impasse” in dealing with Ottawa on health funding and immigratio­n and said a common front could “restore a minimum balance of power with Ottawa.”

The Coalition Avenir Québec rejected the PQ'S idea Tuesday, with Legault saying he intends to present a plan with his options on immigratio­n “soon.”

Legault said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has an “obligation” to reduce the number of 528,000 temporary immigrants by their next in-person meeting, no later than June 30.

Interim Liberal leader Marc Tanguay also rejected the common front, saying “a pilgrimage to Ottawa that includes a coffee with (the Bloc Québécois leader)” won't change much.

But Québec solidaire co-spokespers­on Gabriel Nadeau-dubois said he was open to the idea.

During a meeting last Friday with Legault, Trudeau flatly refused to transfer full power over immigratio­n to the province. He said Quebec already enjoys far more power over immigratio­n than any other province or territory.

Under a 1991 agreement, Quebec controls the volume of entry of permanent residents and economic immigrants. Canada controls refugees and families.

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