Bernier calls for end to $41 billion worth of transfers

Conservative MP wants to give control back to provinces

Conservative MP Maxime Bernier will speak Wednesday in Toronto about his vision for a much smaller federal government. According to a copy of the speech obtained by The Globe and Mail, the former industry and foreign affairs minister wants to do away with social and health transfers to provinces, while giving them “tax points” to make up for the loss. That would mean provinces could decide entirely on health and social spending, while the federal government could cut its taxes substantially. Combined, the Canada Health Transfer and the Canada Social Transfer (which funds higher education and social programs) will reach $41-billion by 2013. Mr. Bernier says the federal government has no constitutional right to interfere in these areas through spending. “This is not what the Fathers of Confederation had intended,” says the copy of his speech. He will also suggest that without the federal Canada Health Act to stop them, provinces could choose to expand the role of the private sector in health care delivery. Some analysts believe Mr. Bernier is setting himself up for a future run at the leadership of the Conservative party.

The Globe and Mail

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