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Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff speaks at a campaign rally in Hamilton on April 7, 2011. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press/Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press)
Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff speaks at a campaign rally in Hamilton on April 7, 2011. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press/Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press)

Liberals vow to maintain annual increase in health-care transfers Add to ...

Michael Ignatieff is committing a Liberal government to maintaining the 6-per-cent annual health-care transfer beyond 2014, as a way of giving stability and confidence to the provinces.

The Liberal leader, who has referred to health care as the "sleeper issue" of the election, was vague as to where he would find the money to fund the commitment, however.

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That didn't stop him Friday from accusing Stephen Harper of keeping silent on health care for the past five years.

He questioned the Conservative Leader's priorities of spending billions of dollars on new fighter jets, more prison cells and corporate tax cuts.

"It's simple: You don't have enough money for health care," he said.

Mr. Ignatieff was speaking to reporters after an emotional tour of Hamilton's Juravinski Cancer Centre, where he met with patients.

The Health Accord negotiated in 2004 by former Liberal prime minister Paul Martin expires in 2014. Mr. Ignatieff repeatedly told reporters during his press conference that his pledge means that provinces, when they begin negotiations for the new accord, know they can count on this funding.

He said he would sit down with provinces immediately if he forms the next government.

Mr. Ignatieff first issued his health-care pledge in a four-page open letter to Canadians Friday morning - timed to pre-empt promises coming from the Conservative platform, which was released around 10:30 a.m.

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