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Canada’s health care system needs money, and fast: Quebec minister

Ottawa needs to prioritize funding for health care, Quebec's health minister warns.
Ottawa needs to prioritize funding for health care, Quebec's health minister warns. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Al Behrman

Quebec Health Minister Gaetan Barrette says the federal government wants to talk priorities and efficiencies to fund Canada’s health system, but they aren’t talking about what’s most important – money.

“Talking about conditions is their way of not talking about funding. And we are all trapped and we are all talking about conditions, with strings attached, with no strings, with strings loosely attached, or tightly attached – whatever,” said Barrette.

READ MORE: Provincial health ministers angry over federal plan to cut health transfers

“But we are not talking about the real thing that comes first, funding. It’s a trap. I don’t like that trap.”

Minister Barrette says if Ottawa does not have a health accord with the provinces prior to the next federal budget, it would be “damaging” for Canadians.

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“We will not be able to answer the needs of Canadians, those vulnerable citizens across the country if we don’t have proper funding.”

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Barrette was in Ottawa for the Canada 20/20 Health Summit, which brings together stakeholders and experts to discuss and debate how to improve Canada’s health care system.

Health Minister Jane Philpott spoke prior to Minister Barrette, and she stressed that policy-makers need to move beyond simply discussing funding, saying that innovation should be a priority.

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“We are intent on collaborating; we’ve agreed on where the challenges lie,” said Minister Philpott.

“It’s not just about throwing more money at the system, they are fragmented, they are not as efficient as they could be.”

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