council of the federation
Provincial and territorial leaders are gathering in Saskatoon this week.
For the longest time, a photo of the premiers assembled could be mistaken for a photo of a fraternity or a really unsuccessful boy band.
The Liberal government's Health Accord recognized that; the Council of the Federation recognizes that; health care advocates and health professions recognize that. This is the mandate of the federal government and it is time to stop passing the buck to provinces.
As the Philippines endure the aftermath of the largest tropical storm ever to make landfall -- and as nations such as China make moves to establish carbon pricing -- this is not the time to double down on fossil fuels.
The Canada Job Grant is an attempt to realign priorities. If the provinces want to align training programs to industrial demand, great. If not, and provinces continue to offer training programs not directly linked to occupations in demand, the federal government has every justification to step in and demand value for money.
When Canada's premiers meet for the annual Council of the Federation this week, the future of health care is a critical item on the agenda. The role of a premier is to stand up to federal government bullying on behalf of all Canadians. We are asking them to send a strong message to the Harper Conservative Government: Get back to the table and get back on board to support public health care for all in Canada.
The premiers have a tough job this week. They have to choose which pressing issue will be discussed, debated and (hopefully) tackled in just three days at the Council of the Federation meeting in Niagara, Ontario. Lead by the Dignity for All Campaign, over 50 organizations from across the country are pushing the premiers to make housing a priority.
In Canada and Ontario we currently face many labour market challenges, including the rise of precarious work, growing numbers of migrant workers, cuts to employment insurance and cuts to job training programs for vulnerable workers. We hope the new Premier will situate Ontario as a leader among the provinces and territories and will address these challenges head-on.
I see the premiers are upset that Prime Minister Harper will not be attending their next session on the economy in Halifax next November. We can almost certainly guarantee that if the Prime Minister went to the November meeting each and every premier would find plenty of opportunities to go in front of the media to castigate the Prime Minister on a long list of issues. In turn the Prime Minister would then be forced to respond to their attacks during his media availability. Certainly that is not the best way to have reasonable well-thought out discussions on the economy or on any other issue for that matter. Why should Harper risk it?