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  • Mobility pricing must be fair and equitable for all April 12, 2018
    As Metro Vancouver’s population has grown, so have its traffic congestion problems. Whether it’s a long wait to cross a bridge or get on a bus, everyone can relate to the additional time and stress caused by a transportation system under strain. Mobility pricing is seen as a solution to Metro Vancouver’s transportation challenges with […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Budget 2018: The Most Disappointing Budget Ever March 14, 2018
    Premier Pallister’s Trump-esque statement that budget 2018 was going to be the “best budget ever” has fallen a bit flat. Instead of a bold plan to deal with climate change, poverty and our crumbling infrastructure, we are presented with two alarmist scenarios to justify further tax cuts and a lack of decisive action: the recent […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • 2018 Federal Budget Analysis February 14, 2018
    Watch this space for response and analysis of the federal budget from CCPA staff and our Alternative Federal Budget partners. More information will be added as it is available. Commentary and Analysis Some baby steps for dad and big steps forward for women, by Kate McInturff (CCPA) An ambition constrained budget, by David Macdonald (CCPA) Five things […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • CED in Manitoba - The Video January 29, 2018
    Community Economic Development in Manitoba - nudging capitalism out of the way?
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • With regional management BC’s iconic forest industry can benefit British Columbians rather than multinational corporations January 17, 2018
    Forests are one of the iconic symbols of British Columbia, and successive governments and companies operating here have largely focussed on the cheap, commodity lumber business that benefits industry. Former provincial forestry minister Bob Williams, who has been involved with the industry for five decades, proposes regional management of this valuable natural resource to benefit […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
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The Progressive Economics Forum

TILMA and Medicare

An editorial in today’s Calgary Herald begins with the usual praise for TILMA, but ends by suggesting a new interprovincial deal on healthcare:

Yet, for Ottawa to attempt to remedy matters by intruding itself into relations between the provinces would not only provoke reflexive opposition but, even if carried through by force majeure, be unlikely to work.

Certainly, the Canada Health Act has not led to congruency among provincial health programs: Treatments approved in some provinces are not available in others, for instance, a reality that mocks the portability requirement of the act.

. . .

However, when two provinces agree to harmonize their standards while upholding their jurisdiction, the constitutional arguments are satisfied: The rest of the country should applaud their initiative and, it is to be hoped, seek to emulate their example.

. . .

First commerce, then health?

It is always advisable to walk, before attempting to run.

However, by attempting to show how mutual advantage can arise from friendly agreement, Canada’s two western provinces may turn out to be on the leading edge of a more efficient federalism.

The two governments deserve every encouragement in negotiating an agreement.

What does the Herald have in mind? The Canadian Press recently reported:

Alberta is taking a “leadership role” that he expects other provinces will follow, says the premier.

The strategy includes buying drugs with neighbouring provinces “on a much larger scale” to reduce costs, and using new labour mobility agreements to recruit doctors and nurses from other provinces.

Provincial governments co-operating to maximize their market power in buying pharmaceuticals is an excellent idea. However, progressives were proposing this approach long before corporate Canada’s latest round of hyperventilation about supposed “internal trade barriers”.

More generally, I suspect that many Canadians would not welcome the healthcare policies that Alberta’s Conservatives and BC’s Liberals would likely champion. Indeed, “the Canada Health Act has not led to congruency among provincial health programs” largely because these two provincial governments have aggressively deviated from this Act.

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