Question Period: Health Care Transfers

By: The Hon. Brian Francis

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Hon. Brian Francis: Senator Gold, yesterday, it was announced that the federal government will provide $2 billion over 10 years to:

. . . address the unique challenges Indigenous Peoples face when it comes to fair and equitable access to quality and culturally safe health care services.

In light of the criticisms from Indigenous leaders, who were excluded from discussions on health care funding, could you please provide us with a detailed list of all the “Indigenous partners” your government plans to work with to prioritize investments, as well as with a detailed breakdown of how — and how much of — this funding will be disbursed directly to First Nations, Inuit and Métis across all provinces and territories?

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate): Thank you for the question. It’s an important one. Clearly, I don’t have the answer. Part of the reason is that the government is going to be working with Indigenous leadership and communities to make sure that the money — and this is a historic and first-time initiative, which the government is proud of — is allocated in the right way that meets the needs.

In fact, a number of us today had lunch with, at his invitation, the Minister of Health and also Minister Bennett, and this subject was discussed. One of our colleagues — who is not in the chamber so I should not mention her name — raised this directly, and there was a clear commitment and understanding on the part — I’m looking for colleagues who were there to verify what I’m saying.

Senator Plett: We weren’t invited.

Senator Gold: You were not invited. It wasn’t me who extended the invitation, Senator Plett.

But what I’m saying is that those who were there I think can attest to the fact that the government is committed to working in a serious partnership way with the communities, and it’s going to take some time to develop those plans and make sure that the assistance the money can provide meets the needs of the individual communities.

I’ll make some inquiries. I don’t think I’ll have an answer quickly. Thank you.

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