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Politics Briefing: Federal government to provide $2-billion to help reduce backlog of surgeries caused by COVID-19 pandemic – The Globe and Mail


The federal government says it will provide the provinces and territories $2-billion to help reduce the backlog of surgeries created by the pandemic.

Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos announced the commitment on Friday at a news conference in Ottawa.

“These delays are a burden that can be very hard to bear for the affected patients, their families and their loved ones as well as for the health-care workers caring for them,” he said.

“Today’s announcement will help repair the damage caused to our health-care system by the pandemic.”

He said the investment could help provinces and territories clear hundreds of thousands of backlogged surgeries such as cancer and heart surgeries, as well as hip replacements.

In a statement, the federal finance department said the COVID-19 pandemic has delayed an estimated 700,000 surgeries and other medical procedures.

The statement said the federal government had introduced Bill C-17 to provide the $2 billion top-up, which will be distributed equally per capita. In addition, said the statement, the federal government has provided a previous $4.5 billion top up to the Canada Health Transfer to deal with health-system pressures created during the pandemic.

As the announcement was being made, the NDP issued a statement saying they “are already using their power to deliver for Canadians who need help now” after a deal announced this week that will see the government act on certain NDP priorities in return for the NDP supporting the Liberals in confidence votes.

In the statement, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said the $2-billion announcement will be helpful, “but we’ll keep using our power to get more help for Canadians.”

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 sign-up page. Have any feedback? Let us know what you think.


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The Prime Minister held private meetings in Brussels and then departed for Ottawa.


No schedules released for party leaders.


Andrew Coyne (The Globe and Mail) on the Liberal-NDP alliance: The agreement obliges the NDP not to support an explicit vote of no confidence in the government. But it is unclear on what would happen should the Liberals declare a particular vote – say, on whether the government should be required to produce certain documents or witnesses – to be a question of confidence. Only then will we find out what the NDP bought in this deal, and what it sold.”

Robyn Urback (The Globe and Mail) on Michelle Rempel Garner and the stinking albatross around Patrick Brown’s neck: “Ms. Rempel Garner’s decision to co-chair Mr. Brown’s leadership campaign is particularly curious because she is likely the best known and most outspoken advocate for women’s rights in the Conservative caucus. Ms. Rempel Garner has written scathing op-eds about the “everyday sexism” experienced by female staffers on the Hill. She accused her own colleagues of sexism for leaving her out of an important policy discussion, and routinely takes the Prime Minister to task for speaking the language of feminism, yet acting differently.”

Michael Ignatieff (Contributed to The Globe and Mail) on how the West must preserve Volodymyr Zelensky’s government to save Ukraine: The fall of the Zelensky government would give Mr. Putin the victory he so desperately needs; it would allow him to wipe out Ukraine as a sovereign state, and to begin the Russification of a newly conquered people. This plausible scenario should give Western leaders strategic and moral clarity. The West’s strategic objective in this war ought to be to preserve the Zelensky government. By saving the government, the West can save Ukraine. Any Russian effort to finish off the Zelensky government should be the West’s red line: the moment at which it sends a message to Mr. Putin that if he does not stop, it will respond with force.”

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