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Clark's deal with feds costs BC taxpayers $154M a year: Schreck

Premier Christy Clark's claim that she'd cut a good deal for British Columbians regarding changes to the federal government's transfer payments for health care doesn't pan out according to political analyst and former NDP David Schreck.

In fact, Clark's agreement with the Harper government will cost B.C. taxpayers $154 million more per year, Schreck calculates, based on documents he obtained through a Freedom of Information request.

In a post today on his Strategic Thoughts website, Schreck writes:

“On January 17, 2012 Clark chaired the Council of the Federations meeting in Victoria. Prior to the meeting, Clark endorsed Prime Minister Harper's changes to the Canada Health Transfer subject to her proposal to replace equal population shares with equal age-adjusted population shares….

“I received a Ministry of Finance document with the key table blanked out but the data used to produce that table remained in the document. It shows that under Harper’s formula BC would receive 13.4 per cent of the total federal health transfers, but under Clark's age adjusted formula BC would receive 13.7 per cent. When applied to total transfers of $32.1 billion, that 0.3 per cent difference equals $96.3 million. It would reduce the cost to B.C. from a $250 million loss to a $154 million loss, putting Clark on record as supporting that cut in federal transfers to B.C.

“Clark's proposal would result in Alberta and Ontario losing relative to Harper's formula. Alberta would receive $385 million less and Ontario $128 million less. Not only does Clark's proposal cost BC $154 million but it is unlikely to succeed against the opposition of Alberta and Ontario.”

The Tyee contacted the Ministry of Finance earlier this afternoon seeking a response to Schreck's calculations and had not received one as this went to press.

David Beers is editor of The Tyee

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