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The provinces and the federal government are offering contrasting reports on efforts to reach an agreement on funding health care in Canada.

On Friday, the federal Intergovernmental Affairs Minister said there had been some promising talks between the federal government and provinces on reaching an agreement on the issue.

“We are seeing in the conversations with provinces and territories around the health-care system some very encouraging discussions,” Dominic LeBlanc said at a transit news conference in Toronto.

Responding to a journalist’s question, Mr. LeBlanc noted the government has said it is willing to increase its share of funding for health care in Canada, but that the government also wants to collectively attain better results for the system.

“I am encouraged by the conversations we have had,” Mr. LeBlanc said, noting he had dinner with Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Andrew Furey in Toronto on Thursday. “We obviously talked about this.”

Mr. LeBlanc also said he has spoken to Nova Scotia Premier Tim Houston. And he said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was in contact earlier this week with Ontario Premier Doug Ford.

“I think we’re at a place where we can continue to do the important work Canadians expect of us, and I’m not pessimistic at all about the results of our collective efforts.”

However, Manitoba Premier Heather Stefanson, the chair of the Council of the Federation, offered a different perspective as a news conference by the premiers began soon after Mr. LeBlanc’s remarks.

“There have been no federal proposals, no substantive meetings or dialogue and no real progress,” Ms. Stefanson told the virtual news conference, referring to talks with Ottawa.

She called for an urgent first ministers meeting – the premiers and the Prime Minister – early in 2023 to discuss the issue of health care. “All premiers are ready, willing and able to sit down for serious discussions as soon as possible to pursue the true partnership that all Canadians urgently deserve.”

Talks between health ministers from the provinces and territories and the federal health-care minister went awry in November. Story here.

The premiers have argued repeatedly in the past that health-care funding began as a 50-50 split between the federal government and the provinces and territories, but that Ottawa’s share has dwindled to 22 per cent. They are asking for an increase to 33 per cent, or an additional $28- billion in funding a year, without conditions.

Please check The Globe and Mail for updates on the premiers’ news conference.

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.


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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, in Ottawa, held private meetings, and also held a meeting with Northwest Territories Premier Caroline Cochrane followed by a meeting with Yukon Premier Sandy Silver.


Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet, in Sainte-Anne-des-Monts and accompanied by Bloc fisheries critic Caroline Desbiens, was scheduled to hold a fisheries table on the right whale followed by an afternoon media availability.

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