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British Columbia Premier John Horgan is pushing back on federal concerns about the provinces spending new health care money from Ottawa in other areas.

“It’s a cop out and I think it’s a mechanism to divert attention for the federal government to say, `We don’t want to continue to fund health care because you might do something else with the money,’” Mr. Horgan told a news conference on Tuesday at a meeting of premiers and territorial leaders in Victoria.

Mr. Horgan, the current chair of the Council of the Federation representing provinces and territories, said council members are not asking Ottawa to monitor their budgeting processes or saying that they don’t want to be accountable for the expenditures they make.

Rather, he said, there’s a need to facilitate a national system to avoid the “balkanization of Canada” where provinces would choose different paths in health care.

The B.C. New Democrat was responding Monday to comments by federal Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc, who told CBC that Ottawa wouldn’t increase federal spending to the provinces for health care just so the provinces could reduce their own spending.

Council of the Federation members are in the B.C. capital for their first in-person meeting since 2019. Health care has been key to the talks as council members want the federal government to increase their health care spending from 22 per cent to 35 per cent of the $200-billion provinces and territories allocate annually.

The two-day meeting is to conclude Tuesday with a news conference. Mr. Horgan’s comments were a prelude to those closing remarks at the summer gathering.

The B.C. premier said Canadians want to know their leaders are going to figure out how to proceed on health care. “We want to sit down and reimagine Canadian health care in 2022. Let’s get on with that. That’s the message to Ottawa.”

In a statement issued earlier Tuesday, the council repeated their “urgent call” for a first ministers’ meeting to resolve the issue of securing increased, predictable and recurrent federal funding.

Vancouver Reporter Andrea Woo and Queen’s Park Reporter Dustin Cook report here on Monday’s events at the meeting.

Reporter’s Comment Ms. Woo: “After a day dominated by talks of health care funding and demands that the federal government cough up more cash, Canada’s premiers will meet for a second day today in Victoria, where they are expected to discuss affordability and economic recovery. The meeting is being held at the picturesque Empress Hotel facing the inner harbour, and there’s a heavy security presence throughout the hotel, which is also bustling with tourists at the height of the travel season. A news conference with the premiers is scheduled for this afternoon.”

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.

TODAY'S HEADLINES

BREAKING - Former MP John Reynolds, the national campaign co-chair for disqualified Conservative leadership candidate Patrick Brown, is endorsing Jean Charest as party leader. Mr. Reynolds’ support, outlined in a statement issued Tuesday afternoon, comes as Mr. Brown is seeking to appeal his disqualification. “We need to offer Canadians a positive, unified and inclusive Conservative Party with a new, time-tested leader,” Mr. Reynolds said in the statement. He said Mr. Charest “is now the only leadership candidate that is offering the Conservative Party of Canada a forward-looking vision with an electable path to government.” More later at theglobeandmail.com

UKRAINE SUMMONS CANADIAN DIPLOMAT OVER TURBINE EQUIPMENT - Ukraine summoned a senior Canadian diplomat to hear Kyiv’s objections to a decision by Ottawa to release Russian-owned gas turbine equipment that had been stranded in a Montreal repair facility because of sanctions against Russia. Story here.

CHAMPAGNE’S DIRECTION TO CANADIAN TELECOMS - Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne is directing Canada’s telecoms to enter into a formal agreement aimed at enhancing network reliability after a widespread outage shut down Rogers Communications Inc.’s wireless and internet services across the country on Friday. Story here.

LUCKI HAD A WARNING TO TOP FEDERAL POLITICIANS - RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki warned the offices of top federal politicians not to share operationally sensitive details she was disclosing to them about a mass murderer’s weapons in a message she sent days before she pushed her subordinates to release that same information to the public. Story here.

INTEREST RATE INCREASE EXPECTED BY BANK OF CANADA - The Bank of Canada is widely expected to announce its biggest interest rate increase since 1998 this week, continuing to push borrowing costs higher in an effort to keep inflation expectations anchored and to slow the pace of consumer price growth. Story here.

TENS OF THOUSANDS OF ARTIFACTS FOUND IN CENTRE BLOCK DIG - More than 200,000 artifacts dating back to 1827 have been discovered by archeologists during the dig around Centre Block on Parliament Hill. Story here from CTV.

CONSERVATIVE LEADERSHIP RACE

CAMPAIGN TRAIL - Scott Aitchison is in Vancouver. Roman Baber holds a meet and greet event in Edmonton. Jean Charest is in Quebec. Leslyn Lewis is in British Columbia, with stops in Campbell River and Courtenay. Pierre Poilievre is in Grand Prairie.

TORIES SEEK INDEPENDENT LEGAL ADVICE - Federal Conservatives are seeking independent legal guidance on how to deal with a request for an appeal of Patrick Brown’s disqualification as a leadership candidate. Mr. Brown’s lawyer, Marie Henein, had demanded a response by the weekend. Story here.

THIS AND THAT

The House of Commons is not sitting again until Sept. 19. The Senate is to resume sitting on Sept. 20.

BENNETT IN EDMONTON - Mental Health Minister Carolyn Bennett announced funding to support people who use substances in Edmonton.

GOULD IN BURNABY - Families Minister Karina Gould as well as Natalie Jameson, the Education Minister for Prince Edward Island, are delivering remarks as co-chairs at the conclusion of a meeting of federal, provincial and territorial ministers responsible for early learning and child care.

GUILBEAULT IN WASHINGTON - Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault was scheduled to conclude his first trip to Washington with a call with media.

O’REGAN AND TASSI IN HAMILTON - Labour Minister Seamus O’Regan is in Hamilton, touring a housing construction project and, according to his office, discussing how government and unions can work together to address labour shortages in the construction sector. Public Services Minister Filomena Tassi, also a Hamilton MP, will be present as well.

WILKINSON IN REGINA - Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson is delivering remarks in Regina to the Regina and District Chamber of Commerce and the Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce, and holding a media availability.

EMERALD ASH BORER THREAT - The discovery of an invasive wood-boring beetle on private property in the Gaspésie-Îles-de-la-Madeleine region of Quebec has prompted restrictions on the movement of logs, branches, woodchips and all species of firewood from the zone around the affected location. The discovery was made by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. The emerald ash borer is highly destructive to ash trees, and has killed millions of such trees across North America, posing a major economic and environmental threat to urban and forested areas. The borer poses no threat to human health. The food inspection agency is working with stakeholders to stop the pest’s spread.

THE DECIBEL

On Tuesday’s edition of The Globe and Mail podcast, telecom reporter Alexandra Posadzki discusses what went wrong as Rogers’ cellphone and internet service suddenly stopped working last Friday, leaving almost 12 million Canadians disconnected. Ms. Posadzki also talks about the government’s response in a meeting held Monday afternoon between telecom executives and federal Innovation Minister François-Philippe Champagne. The Decibel is here.

PRIME MINISTER'S DAY

In the Eastern Townships of Quebec, the Prime Minister visited a heavy-duty electric vehicle production facility to meet with workers, and then met with local youth. The Prime Minister was also scheduled in Ottawa to sign the book of condolences for former prime minister of Japan Shinzo Abe and speak with Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.

LEADERS

No schedules released for party leaders.

OPINION

The Globe and Mail Editorial Board on how it’s time to treat cellphones and the internet like the essential infrastructure they are: There were panicked people desperately trying and failing to reach 911 on Friday, businesses that lost sales and doctors that couldn’t access the records of patients. And yet while Canada protects its few telecommunications giants from foreign and domestic competition, it is failing to ensure that the critical infrastructure the companies profit from meets basic reliability standards. Ottawa has two choices: It can allow more competition in Canada and make the system more reliable that way; or it can step in and do the job in the absence of a real marketplace. For the safety of Canadians, it can’t have it both ways.”

André Picard (The Globe and Mail) on whether cash incentives can solve the family doctor shortage: Having a family doctor is important; ensuring every Canadian has a medical home should be a priority. Instead of trying to bribe young doctors to practice medicine in a way that is untenable, politicians and policy-makers would do well to listen to the new graduates and fundamentally change the way primary care is funded and practiced. That would benefit not only physicians, but their patients as well.”

Murray Mandryk (Regina Leader-Post) on how Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe would do better at the Council of the Federation had he done better on COVID: It’s all well and good for Moe et. al. to talk the talk about being a nation within a nation but his government surely needed to walk the walk when it came to stepping up and defending the health and well-being of its citizenry. Moe is now asking for both more dollars and more autonomy after demonstrating a penchant for opting for the popular choices rather than the tough, unpopular ones that might have spared us added health-care costs. Can we trust Moe would spend more health dollars wisely when this nation within a nation has been last in the nation in the COVID-19 fight? A compelling case for anything requires not only a demonstrated need, but also a demonstration of prudent management. Moe goes into this week’s meetings with big problems in all the cases he hopes to make.”

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