In what has largely been described as a summit of posturing and promising what has already been promised, Paul Martin’s summit to hash out a “fix for a generation” is going as smoothly as expected for a meeting between the premiers and the man who ripped funds out of healthcare and now promises its “fix”.
“We should put out a chart tomorrow that (shows) $1 trillion that the provinces will spend on health care in the next 10 years … Then they can put out a chart tomorrow (showing) how much they’re going to spend in the next 15 years. We can then put out for 20 . . . You can get into these silly numbers all day long” — Gary Doer, Premier of Manitoba
“Maybe next time they’ll be talking about a 40-year plan. And then you just keep increasing the size of the numbers accordingly.” — Dalton McGuinty — Premier of Ontario
“A generational fix should not be a one-time fix of funding today and gone tomorrow; a generational fix should not be high expectation now with a declining federal share after two years.” — Bernard Lord, Premier of New Brunswick
“Remember etch-a-sketch? You sort of put it on, you shake it all up and it would disappear on you. You can’t build a health-care system on the basis of an etch-a-sketch plan.” — Gordon Campbell, Premier of British Columbia
“While the numbers have been debated to some extent, all agree that the federal government will have a significant surplus which will increase with time — while the provinces and the territories are dealing with chronic deficits.” — Dalton McGuinty, Premier of Ontario
On blaming Paul Martin himself for the need for a “fix for a generation”:
“Those Draconian cuts ….. were the start of it all … There was a unilateral [and] sharp decrease in federal transfers.” — Jean Charest, Premier of Quebec