Perhaps the time has come to think seriously about the Canada Health Act. The Act imposes a legal regime on the provinces in an area that is clearly mandated provincial jurisdiction.
Once upon a time, the provinces may have submitted to the Act because the feds were picking up a good chunk of the healthcare tab. Robert Bourrassa was certainly not the only premier ever to have believed in “profitable federalism.” In politics, principles have a price too.
The new federal funding rules for healthcare make it easier for provinces to ditch the Act in the near future once and for all. The feds cover now on average about 20 percent of the health costs, and in a few years their participation is expected to go below 15 percent. The price to keep pretending that the federal government can legislate in this area has dropped below the level of affordability for the indignity of trading a province’s constitutional autonomy.
The feds are not our parents, but would one let one’s parents dictate how one should live in one’s apartment if they were only paying fifteen percent of the rent?
For the sake of provincial autonomy and out of respect for the federal principle, if nothing else, it’s time to re-evaluate the Canada Health Act.