Montreal

Gaétan Barrette says Quebec will 'stay strong' as 3 provinces ink health funding deals with Ottawa

In an interview with CBC, Gaétan Barrette said he was disappointed with the 3 Atlantic provinces that have decided to make deals with the Trudeau government, but added those provinces were less committed to tough negotiations.

Health minister has been a lead voice against Ottawa's offer during negotiations

Quebec Health Minister Gaétan Barrette said the province will stick with its remaining partners in the negotiation rather than sign its own bilateral deal. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

Quebec Health Minister Gaétan Barrette says there's a "strong majority" now opposing the federal government's health care transfer offer after three provinces decided to ink deals.

On Thursday, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador joined New Brunswick in accepting the Trudeau government's offer of funding for home care and mental health services over the next decade.

In an interview with CBC, Barrette said he was disappointed with the Atlantic provinces, but added they were less committed to tough negotiations.

"I still don't understand how any premier will sign a deal that will decrease funding for health care and at the same time believe that it will improve access," he said.

Barrette has been one of the lead voices against the federal government's offer during the health negotiations. He says anything less than a 5.2 per cent annual increase in health transfer payments amounts to a cut.

All three provinces that have signed deals agreed to a three per cent per year increase or the rate of growth of nominal GDP, whichever is higher.

According to Barrette, the federal government is "misleading Canadians by saying they'll have better access" under the funding plans.

Quebecers not lured by deal

Barrette said that he will take it day by day but that the province will "stay strong" in negotiations.

He believes Quebecers will back his position.

"Quebecers do understand the simple math of those things," he said.

"They understand that we are being lured into a deal that really means that it's going to be less care."

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