- Michael McBane highlights one of the less-discussed changes in the Cons' 2014 budget - as it officially eliminates the federal distribution of health care funding based on provincial need in favour of handing extra money to Alberta:
The Harper government is eliminating the equalization portion of the Canada Health Transfer (CHT) and replacing it with an equal per capita transfer. This means that less populous provinces with relatively larger and more isolated populations will have more and more difficulty delivering more expensive universal health services.- Meanwhile, Andrew Nikiforuk points out one likely result of diverting yet more money into the hands of resource-obsessed provincial governments - as Canada's western provinces are subsidizing fracking compared even to U.S. states (with Saskatchewan the worst offender).
Likewise, provinces with relatively larger proportion of older residents will also be hampered in delivering universal quality care. The move to an equal per capita cash transfer will widen the gap between the have and the have-not provinces and make it next to impossible to maintain national standards in health care.
It is estimated by the Premiers that this one budgetary move will create a funding gap for the have-not provinces of $16.5 billion over the next 5 years. The only province to benefit from this change is Alberta, with its growing, younger population.
- PressProgress recognizes that we shouldn't trust Tim Hudak's temporary disavowal of part of his anti-worker agenda. And Blacklocks reports that the Harper Cons' cabinet is taking control and ownership of private members' bills aimed to destroy the capacity of unions to organize at the federal level.
- Finally, Chris Selley comments on the Cons' selective interest in protecting human life - including their determination to push drug users toward death rather than treatment.