Not any more

Economy tops premiers’ summit agenda

In Canada on August 5, 2010 at 11:56

Canada’s premiers are expected to focus on the economy, health care and water protection on Thursday during the annual summer meeting of the Council of the Federation.

The premiers are gathering to discuss provincial and territorial deficits and the continued recovery from the global recession as the federal stimulus program winds down.

Some premiers have indicated they want Ottawa to keep the stimulus taps flowing to ensure Canada’s recovery from the recession, while others have called for fiscal austerity, the CBC’s Lyndsay Duncombe reported from the conference.

On health care, Quebec Premier Jean Charest is calling for the provinces to start preparing now to make sure the federal-provincial Health Care Accord is renewed. The current agreement, reached by provincial leaders and then-prime minister Paul Martin in 2004, expires in 2014.

Canada is feeling the pressure from an older, sicker population, the costly demands of high-tech medicine and a national shortage of nurses and other health-care workers.

Premiers differ on census approach

Although it’s not on the conference’s official agenda, the premiers are also expected to discuss the potential impacts of the federal government’s decision to scrap the mandatory long-form census.

Many provinces have already spoken out against the change, arguing the long-form census offers invaluable information to help them make decisions about programs. But Alberta, B.C. and Saskatchewan adopted a wait-and-see approach.

“Information obviously is extremely important,” Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach told CBC News in an interview from Winnipeg on Thursday ahead of the conference.

“But we’re waiting to see how the federal government will unfold the new plan to provide the necessary information to our government and so that we can work in partnership with the federal government.”

On Wednesday, the premiers met with aboriginal leaders in Churchill, Man., and called on the federal government to help them improve aboriginal education.

Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Danny Williams will not attend the conference because he is recovering from an injured back, Elizabeth Matthews, the premier’s director of communications, told CBC News.




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