Ottawa still has influence in health policy, Aglukkaq says

GATINEAU, QUE.—Ottawa still has sway with the provinces on health policy, despite issuing a new funding formula without conditions, says Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq. But federal-provincial talks on the future of health care won’t be the tense, high-stakes game of chicken of the past, Aglukkaq said in her first public comments since Finance Minister Jim Flaherty handed provinces the federal health-funding scheme for the coming decade. Instead, the discussions will be more about performance measurement, accountability and sharing of best practices rather than money, she told reporters. Critics and some provinces have accused Ottawa of abdicating its responsibility to maintain a high national standard for health care, and Aglukkaq’s comments on Thursday did nothing to change those views. “She’s dreaming if she thinks it’s a better atmosphere,” said NDP health critic Libby Davies. “I think they’ve botched the whole file.”