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Atlantic premiers call for hike in health-care funding

The four Atlantic premiers met Wednesday morning in Saskatoon ahead of Council of the Federation meetings.

According to a joint news release, premiers Stephen McNeil of Nova Scotia, Dwight Ball of Newfoundland & Labrador, Blaine Higgs of New Brunswick, and Dennis King of Prince Edward Island focused on issues related to health-care funding and energy transmission.

“The premiers noted that Canada’s population is aging and this, coupled with determinants of health such as high incidence of chronic disease, has had a particularly acute impact in the Atlantic region,” the news release reads.

The premiers called on the federal government to increase health-care funding to address the impact of the region’s aging population on Atlantic Canada’s health-care systems, as the current federal health transfer does not take aging and other health dynamics into consideration.

The Atlantic premiers also asked to be consulted around the design of any national pharmacare system so that regional needs are taken into account.

Finally, the premiers discussed progress with the federal government on developing a Clean Power Roadmap for Atlantic Canada. The roadmap will inform how governments invest in electricity infrastructure as the region moves toward a clean energy future.

“Atlantic Canada has tremendous energy resources and the premiers agreed on the need to ensure better connections that will capitalize on those resources and create jobs and benefit the economy for all four provinces,” the premiers said in the release.

The agenda for the two-day Council of the Federation meeting, which will wrap up on Thursday, will include economic growth and competitiveness, immigration, trade and strategic infrastructure. Premiers will also discuss health-care sustainability and mental health, including the importance of a strong federal partner in future health funding.

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