Aglukkaq defends Ottawa’s hands-off role in health-care funding

Federal Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq delivered that unequivocal defence of Ottawa’s hands-off policy toward medicare in a speech Monday to the Canadian Medical Association general council meeting in Yellowknife. “Decision-making about health care is best left to the provincial, territorial and local levels,” she said. “As federal minister of health, I will not dictate to the provinces and territories how they will deliver services or set their priorities...”Libby Davies, health critic for the New Democratic Party, said the argument that Ottawa is merely respecting the provinces’ constitutional jurisdiction on health care is a cop-out. “Flexibility is a code word for lack of action, lack of leadership,” she said. “The federal government’s role is not just to provide money, but to ensure there is equity and fairness.”