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Manitoba Premier Heather Stefanson, speaking for Canada’s premiers, said it would have been helpful to get an advance look at the health care funding proposal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will release Tuesday,

“I would have liked to have seen the proposal ahead of time. There’s no question,” Ms. Stefanson, the head of the Council of the Federation organization of premiers and territorial leaders, told a news conference on Monday as member leaders arrived in the nation’s capital.

“If we had had it ahead of time, we could have had a more fulsome discussion [Tuesday].”

Still, she said she is happy that there is finally a meeting with the Prime Minister. “I think everyone is going in with an open mind to see what’s in the proposal,” she said.

For more than two years, the premiers have been asking for an immediate, no-strings attached increase to the Canada Heath Transfer to bring the federal share of health care funding to 35 per cent. That would have meant a $28-billion increase.

As the meeting looms, senior political reporter Marieke Walsh and Ottawa bureau chief Robert Fife report here that the Opposition Conservatives won’t say whether the federal share of health care budgets should increase or whether they would uphold a new health care accord negotiated between Mr. Trudeau and the premiers.

Earlier Monday, Mr. Trudeau said his government will offer the provinces more money for health care and, beyond that, there will be further talks on specific agreements to address the needs of varied provinces.

“Obviously, yes, there will be increases to the funding we’re sending to the provinces for health care,” Mr. Trudeau told journalists on Monday as he arrived for Question Period.

“But there’s also going to need to be flexibility for every province that has different needs and a different system, different details or pressures within the system. That’s a way of ensuring we’re respecting provincial jurisdiction on health care, and making sure the federal government is there.”

Or, as Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe put it Sunday as he left Regina to fly to Ottawa: “Our priorities may be slightly different in Saskatchewan than they might be in, let’s say, Newfoundland and Nova Scotia.” There’s a Saskatoon StarPheonix report here on Mr. Moe’s remarks..

This is the daily Politics Briefing newsletter, written by Ian Bailey. It is available exclusively to our digital subscribers. If you're reading this on the web, subscribers can sign up for the Politics newsletter and more than 20 others on our newsletter signup page. Have any feedback? Let us know what you think.


CANADA READY TO PROVIDE EARTHQUAKE RELIEF - Canada stood ready to provide help in the aftermath of a deadly 7.8 magnitude earthquake that rocked Turkey and Syria, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Monday, with over 3,400 people reported dead. Story here.

SUPREME COURT TO HEAR CASE ON INDIGENOUS RESIDENCY - The Supreme Court, on Tuesday, will hear a Charter appeal testing Indigenous residency rules in a case about whether self-governing First Nations have the right to make decisions according to Indigenous values and traditions – even if that means violating Charter rights and freedoms. Story here.

NO DISCLOSURE OF LOCATION DATA OF LARGE MEDICAL CANNABIS GROWERS: FEDERAL COURT - A years-long access-to-information battle between journalists and Health Canada over data on the locations of large-scale medical cannabis growers has concluded with a Federal Court judge ruling that even city or town information could risk identifying patients and is therefore protected from disclosure. Story here.

MILITARY PLANE SENT TO HAITI - Canada has sent one of its military planes to Haiti to help the country cope with escalating violence. Story here.

ALBERTA LAWYERS VOTE ON INDIGENOUS COMPETENCY TRAINING - Alberta lawyers will vote Monday on whether to keep a rule set by their governing body that mandates Indigenous competency training, after 51 of the province’s more than 11,000 legal practitioners introduced a motion to scrap it. Story here.

TORIES LAUNCH CARBON TAX ADS - The federal Conservative Party, flush with cash from a record haul in the fourth quarter of 2022, is launching a radio ad campaign in Atlantic Canada on Monday in which party leader Pierre Poilievre takes aim at the Trudeau government’s carbon tax. Story here.

RODRIGUEZ TALKS ABOUT FAMILY’S MOVE TO CANADA - Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez recalls how his family fled Argentina to Canada as refugees when he was eight years old after bombs planted by the paramilitary failed to demolish their home. Story here.

DEBATE PLANNED ON PLEDGE TO KING CHARLES - The debate on elected officials pledging allegiance to King Charles will shift to a small town south of Ottawa this week, as Prescott town council discusses a motion on whether to abolish the requirement for newly elected members. Story here from CTV.


TODAY IN THE COMMONS – Projected Order of Business at the House of Commons, Feb. 6, accessible here.

POLITIAL FORECAST - Health care is dominating the early part of this week with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau poised to Tuesday present premiers and territorial leaders with a proposal for increased federal funding to the provinces for health care.

But there will be other matters on the agenda.

Cabinet meets on Tuesday ahead of the health care meeting. Bill C-11, which would regulate online streaming, has cleared the Senate. Now Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez will have to decide whether he will accept their amendments, and what he decides could set the stage for the bill becoming law. Story here.

Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly is in Delhi, India, on an official visit that will include meetings with her Indian counterpart, External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar.

And, on Monday evening, Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino, RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki and the director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, David Vigneault, were scheduled to appear on the subject of relations between Canada and the People’s Republic of China before the Special Committee on the Canada-People’s Republic of China Relationship. Details here.

Treasury Board President Mona Fortier is to appear Wednesday before the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates looking into federal government consulting contracts awarded to McKinsey & Co. Details here.

DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER’S DAY - Chrystia Freeland, in Windsor, Ont., held private meetings, visited a automotive-sector manufacturing and technology company, and held a roundtable discussion with manufacturing and technology workers. Ms. Freeland then held a media availability.

MINISTERS ON THE ROAD - Immigration Minister Sean Fraser, in Scarborough, Ont., announced Canada is extending and expanding the open work permit program for eligible Hong Kong residents. Fisheries Minister Joyce Murray, in Vancouver, made a funding announcement – details here – in support of ocean monitoring. International Development Minister Harjit Sajjan, also in Vancouver, launched International Development Week.

GOVERNOR-GENERAL ON THE ROAD - Governor-General Mary Simon arrives in Finland for a state visit that runs through to Friday.

B.C. THRONE SPEECH - B.C. Premier David Eby, in Ottawa for the health care meeting, missed the provincial Throne speech. Janet Austin, Lieutenant-Governor of British Columbia, read the speech, outlining the agenda of his B.C. NDP government, on Monday afternoon.

SENATE COMMITTEES - Official Languages Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor is scheduled to appear before the Senate Committee on Official Languages as the committee studies the application of the Official Languages Act and the committee’s study on Francophone immigration to minority communities. 5 p.m. ET. Details, including videolink, here.


Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, in Ottawa, held private meetings and attended Question Period.


Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet held a media scrum in the House of Commons foyer on this week’s first-ministers’ meeting.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, held a news conference on health care.

No schedule released for other party leaders.


On Monday’s edition of The Globe and Mail podcast, The Globe’s Dave McGinn, and independent business reporter, Chris Hannay, explained the appeal of the federal government’s $30-billion pledge to bring daycare costs down to $10/day and create 250,000 new daycare spaces by 2026. and how it is getting attention from investors. The Decibel is here.


As Canada’s first ministers meet this week on health care, the Angus Reid Institute has released a poll suggesting that two in five respondents agree with the provinces enacting system and reporting reforms as a condition of receiving more money. Details here.


The Globe and Mail Editorial Board on how the oil sand compete in a world of lower demand and far lower emissions: Oil production in Alberta has never been higher – output almost reached 4 million barrels a day last November, led by the oil sands. It is why Canada’s exports to the United States have doubled since 2005, winning market share from the likes of Mexico and Saudi Arabia. The roots of this rapid growth extend back more than half a century and are marked by technological innovation, industry-government collaboration, and long-range foresight. Government support was key and in the 1970s it helped get one of the first two oil sands mines built. In the mid-1990s Alberta and Ottawa offered major tax and royalty breaks that helped spur a boom that led to the present. Turning all that bitumen into one of the world’s largest oil fields was yesterday’s technical and public policy riddle. Today, a new round of innovation, collaboration and foresight is necessary. The challenge is twofold: reducing voluminous greenhouse gas emissions as fast as possible, and preparing for a decrease in demand for the oil that has so enriched Alberta and Canada.”

Campbell Clark (The Globe and Mail) on how Justin Trudeau’s Liberals are stuck in the mud and hoping a health-care deal helps pull them out: Mr. Trudeau isn’t seizing the moment. It is seizing him. In a speech to his caucus prior to the resumption of Parliament, he said the Liberals would put forward a “positive vision for the future,” including good jobs, safe communities with clean air, and “an economy that works for everyone.” At the top of the list was a fix for health care, which he promised would mean not only more federal money but better health care outcomes. Mr. Trudeau had just announced that he was convening a meeting with premiers for Feb. 7, a sign that a federal-provincial deal on health care is close. That was supposed to be the first big item on the Liberal agenda in 2023. So this week Mr. Trudeau has an opportunity to take back the initiative.”

Kelly Cryderman (The Globe and Mail) on how the Alberta-filmed HBO series The Last of Us is bringing fun back to the province: Alberta could use some fun. And it turns out that an HBO show about a post-apocalyptic world ravaged by a mass fungal infection is just the ticket. The Last of Us, filmed in the province in 2021 and 2022, is a certified hit. After premiering last month, it’s in the rarefied realm of averaging more than 15 million views per episode – and it’s already been renewed for a second season. It cost somewhere north of $10-million per episode, with The New Yorker reporting that HBO gave the series a budget exceeding that of each of the first five seasons of Game of Thrones. Luke Azevedo, the film commissioner at Calgary Economic Development, said The Last of Us is by far the largest film or TV project ever filmed in Alberta – and possibly in Canada. We knew it was going to be big, but I don’t know if anybody expected it to be this good.”

Jessica Davis (Contributed to The Globe and Mail) on how Canada is taking an unserious approach to stopping the Russian Wagner Group: “The government should be commended for using its tools of financial warfare, as they are some of the stronger and more meaningful actions Canada can take in the international community. But without adequate funding, investment and attention, these tools are meaningless. Almost as meaningless as a vote to list Wagner as a terrorist entity in the House of Commons.”

Jennifer Ditchburn, Charles Breton (Ottawa Citizen) on how Canada’s first ministers must learn to work together more often:As the first ministers get ready to meet Tuesday to hammer out a health-care deal, let’s hope that the sense of urgency and the impulse to work together persists. For a brief time, the pandemic provided a perspective into what they could accomplish together — and with First Nations, Métis and Inuit leaders, and mayors. They broke a few eggs, annoyed some vested interests, but in the process we got important advancements such as virtual health care. But the pandemic also pulled back the curtain on how our complex federation can be an impediment to nimbleness and adaptability.”

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