Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole is defending provisions of his newly costed platform that hold off increases in federal health transfers.
“The spending is very strategic,” Mr. O’Toole told reporters after the French-language leaders’ debate in Gatineau, Que.
He said a Conservative government would provide provinces a stable, predictable line of funding that would increase quite quickly after a few years.
“That will get the system back on its feet.”
The Tories are promising to increase health-care funding by $60-billion over the next decade.
However, the costing of the platform released hours before Wednesday night’s debate said only $3.6-billion of that increase would come in the first five years.
He defended the plan, saying premiers have asked for predictable, stable, long-term funding without conditions.
“That’s what we’re offering here.”
The Conservatives released the costing of their platform on Wednesday without a news conference featuring the party leader.
His remarks to the media following the debate allowed the first questioning on costing details for the platform, which proposes to spend just over $51-billion in net new spending over five years compared to the $78-billion in new spending proposed by the Liberals.
Federal Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, in his own remarks to reporters, criticized the Tory health-care plan as well as the Conservative plans on childcare.
The Tories are proposing to scrap Liberal plans to spend $29.8-billion over five years to launch a $10-a-day childcare system.
Mr. Trudeau said the Liberals will have “a lot more to say” in coming days about Mr. O’Toole’s “weak leadership” on both issues.
“I think Canadians can see that once again he is pretending to be the kind of leader that Canadians want,” said Mr. Trudeau, adding Mr. O’Toole’s promises do not stand up to scrutiny.
Mr. Trudeau has said that he will increase health transfers to the provinces by $25-billion without conditions, working with the provinces to ensure results.
The issue of health-care and childcare funding resonated through the French-language debate, and is likely to crop up again Thursday when leaders gather again at the Canadian Museum of History for the English-language debate, the last such major event before the Sept. 20 election.
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