Harper "sabotaged" health-care talks, Ghiz says

Wayne Thibodeau
Send to a friend

Send this article to a friend.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper “sabotaged” health-care talks between the federal government and the provinces, says Premier Robert Ghiz.

Ghiz, who is co-chairing a working group on the future of health care in Canada, didn’t pull his punches when he discussed his frustrations over meetings last January in British Columbia in his year-end interview with The Guardian.

The premiers were hoping to sit down with the federal government to negotiate a new formula for funding health care. However, Ottawa had no interest in negotiating. It put a take it or leave it deal on the table.



“We were hoping that we were going to go into negotiations with the federal government to discuss health care funding in the future,” Ghiz said in the interview, which will be published in The Guardian Dec. 26 and air on Eastlink TV Dec. 27.

“Unfortunately, the prime minister sabotaged it to a certain extent and came out and said here’s what the federal government is putting on the table and we’re not having any discussions with the provinces. We were extremely surprised by that. We wanted to sit down with the federal government. We wanted to work with them in terms of improving our health care system across the country.”

The province contends when publicly funded health care was launched in Canada, the federal and provincial governments equally funded the program. Now, the provinces say they pick up 80 per cent of the tab.

Ghiz also weighed in on Harper’s reluctance to meet with the premiers.

Premiers have been calling for a First Ministers meeting, but so far Harper has refused to meet with them. Ghiz calls it disappointing.

“As a country, it’s important for us as leaders to be able to get together to discuss issues of a common interest,” he said in the year-end interview, a portion of which is now posted online.

“Unfortunately, the prime minister doesn’t want to do that.”

The P.E.I. premier has held one-on-one meetings with the prime minister including a meeting this fall in Ottawa. Ghiz said he has a good working relationship with Harper.

“We were hoping that we were going to go into negotiations with the federal government to discuss health care funding in the future,” Premier Robert Ghiz

“I still would like a little bit more for our province in terms of realizing that we are a small jurisdiction where employment insurance is extremely important, job cuts - while I know they are going to happen I don’t want them disproportionately happening in the province of Prince Edward Island,” Ghiz said.

“We still have a lot of issues out there.”

The full interview with Ghiz will be published in the print edition of The Guardian Dec. 26.

The one-hour prime time special, A Conversation with Premier Robert Ghiz, will air on Eastlink TV Thursday, Dec. 27 at 8 p.m.

An online exclusive portion of the year-end interview is posted now on The Guardian’s website at www.theguardian.pe.ca. Click on latest videos.

Ghiz said the federal government’s reluctance to work with the provinces on the future of health care prompted the provinces to create the Council of the Federation Innovation Health Working Group, which he co-chairs with Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall.

Ghiz said the working group has already made great strides in improving collaboration among Canada’s 10 provinces and three territories.

The focus now, he said, is reducing the costs of drugs across the country.









Year-end interview

- The full interview with Premier Robert Ghiz will be published in the print edition of The Guardian Dec. 26.

- The one-hour prime time special, A Conversation with Premier Robert Ghiz, will air on Eastlink TV Thursday, Dec. 27 at 8 p.m.

- An online exclusive portion of the year-end interview is posted now on our website. Click here to see it. 



Organizations: First Ministers, Federation Innovation Health Working Group

Geographic location: Canada, Ottawa, British Columbia Prince Edward Island Saskatchewan

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Thanks for voting!

Top of page



Recent comments

    December 20, 2012 - 16:20

    Wayne and Robert! The mutual admiration socity. Both think they are movers and shakers.Neither one is, they are just little fish in a tiny little pond.

  • JamesHalifax
    December 20, 2012 - 12:43

    Ghiz is simply the English Version of Pauline marois. Can't run your own province? Blame Harper and the Feds. Can't balance your own books? Blame Harper and the Feds. Your Policies don't work? Blame Harper and the Feds. frankly, it is up to the people of the region to determine who their leaders will be. If you pick someone who can't balance their own chequebook, or who doesn't understand basic economics.......look inward. And try not to make the same mistake twice.

  • have the fed's planb'd us too?
    December 20, 2012 - 11:01

    Mr. Ghiz uttering frustration about inauthentic inclusion in the decision making process has got to be the year's most blaring irony. Bonshaw. 'Nuff said?

  • Checker
    December 20, 2012 - 10:44

    Is this not the pot calling the kettle black . Who would know more about ignoring the taxpayers then Premier Pinocchio ? Who would know more about the diversion of public funds , patronage. Remember Plan B, Holman Grand, Sink Hole Conference Centre, $525 million in PNP money, refusal to acknowledge the public right to know about governance and the administration of public funds. Thought so...no room here to talk about sabotage by someone else. Did a pretty good job himself.

    • oh my
      December 20, 2012 - 18:40

      CHECKER............you stole my thunder...

  • SG
    December 20, 2012 - 10:42

    Oh Please! Who supplied the majority of Funding for the Unneeded, Unwanted PLAN B? OTTAWA provided for Half or more of that Expense! I wonder what those dollars may have provided re: Health Care, Island Schools, a Police Resident for Holland College, needs for our Disabled Population, Job Opportunities for our present unemployed Islanders? How much was spent on New Vehicles for Ministers? Maybe the Revenues from HST will provide PEI's share of Cost Reduction for PEI's Drugs.

  • polo
    December 20, 2012 - 09:38

    "Do they kiss in the end?" - That IS a good one------------

    • Angus
      December 20, 2012 - 10:33

      No Kiss for sure! Why would Harper meet with the Premiers? They've never had a first conference in this century where the premiers did anything but bash the PM for the sake of votes back home and photo - ops. Who is Ghiz kidding? The waste of money in the health care system is scandalous and led by the top heavy salary demands in administration and countless boondoggles in all provinces. Why would you pour more money into that - this way they are forced to find savings and clean their acts up. Rock on Mr. Harper! Keep looking after the taxpayers, because the premiers don't.

  • opera
    December 20, 2012 - 09:36

    I hear rumors that many many people will take Ghiz up on the invitation to meet him at his LEVEE New Years Day. I hope they do, only facing us all will make him understand how distraught we are with the way this Province has been and is run. I for one will be there silently passing through the line, looking him in the eye and passing in my note, as suggested..

  • Billy
    December 20, 2012 - 09:23

    Who is PEI's Minister of Health anyway? I don't think his or her name is Harper. I don't hear other premiers bashing the Prime Minister on health. Is this all Dizzy Ghiz has to say for a year end comment As usual no one admits to voting for him but he still wins.Reminds me of the Summerside mayor.

  • Fed Up
    December 20, 2012 - 08:52

    Ghiz has to say something to get people's mind off the destruction HE is doing! That's it, Ghizzy....try to pass the buck. No one is cleaning our pockets like YOU....OR wrecking our healthcare system!

  • Scrooge
    December 20, 2012 - 08:19

    Harper giving Ghiz a taste of his own medicine. Don't worry, Mr. Ghiz, you'll still have your party in 2014. Wes will just add more medical procedures to the public bake sale and car wash account.

  • Yankee Lurker
    December 20, 2012 - 08:17

    My friends and relatives in the frozen north and particularly my heritage home, PLEASE LISTEN TO ME: As long as you allow Conservative governments at any level to govern your affairs you will be led by MONSTERS. There is nothing in their make up that does not benefit them personally or the corporations and societies that support them with rock hard cash. I love our Island, I love your Country and I only ask that you lift your eyes a little beyond the horizon and see the destruction the the right wing has wrought on the now Disunited States of America. Unless you really try hard to change your leadership the once and always fear that Canada will become the another part of the Disunited States of America will finally become a tragic reality. Try hard O Canada, Rest Peacefully PEI.

    • bob from cardigan
      December 20, 2012 - 09:01

      How old are you? Next you will say Harper is the devil. Keep focused, we are bashing Ghiz here, this is an Island newspaper. You can leave your national comments on CBC.

  • macbarr
    December 20, 2012 - 08:17

    yeh right.

  • Islandwoman
    December 20, 2012 - 08:03

    So is the whole interview Ghiz whining about Harper not giving him more money? What an inspiring leader he's not. Nice picture though, do they kiss at the end?

  • bob from cardigan
    December 20, 2012 - 07:55

    Headline: Premier Robert Ghiz sabotaged PEI!

    December 20, 2012 - 07:46

    It seem's like harper is trying to destroy this country with my fallowing. 1. tell the canadian's tobeing a fighting stead of peace keeping nation. 2. Big change's to the EI system, which will destroy the seasonal industries of the maritime's. 3. Now the health care system. He might be trying to turn Canadian's into american's.

  • Thank Goodness
    December 20, 2012 - 07:44

    Thank Goodness that Harper is looking out for the taxpayers money . Why in the world would Harper give Ghiz & his co harts any say in money matters . They have already shown they have 0 common sense along with the many questionable actions the've done with our money while being accountable to no one . As said before , Thank Goodness that Harper is being tight fisted with our tax money when it comes to these people . If Islanders can't or refuse to see the wasting and unaccountable spending going on here . He can & is trying to help us .

  • Quiet Observer
    December 20, 2012 - 07:37

    Tell me, in terms of governing style, is there any diference between Robert Ghiz and Stephen Harper?

  • Thank Goodness
    December 20, 2012 - 07:31

    Thank goodness that someone is looking out for the Canadian Taxpayer . Why in the world would Harper give Ghiz & his co harts any say in money matters . They have proven themselves time & time again to have 0 in the common sense area along with a great deal of questionable actions here on PEI that they are not accountable to anyone for . As said before Thank Goodness for Harper's tight fist on our money .

  • johnthames
    December 20, 2012 - 07:29

    Harper likes dealing with people one on one, that way he can cut a different deal with each and none can gain the upper hand through strength in numbers. This is Harper's strategy; it is a business strategy that is common place, especially in non-unionized environments. Ghiz does not appear to recognize this. He would rather whine than get on with the job. Interesting how he refers to himself as a leader. The man has no scruples, considering how he won the party leadership and what he has offered islanders since: debt, HST, PNP, Plan B, Patronage. Harper is a bad PM for the east. Ghiz is just bad.

  • rickbrown
    December 20, 2012 - 07:20

    Prime Minister Stephen Harper “sabotaged” canada should be more like that for a headline

  • earl
    December 20, 2012 - 07:19

    Typical. Go ahead giz, blame harper for all of your shortcomings. Blame him for your incompetence as a person. Blame him for your complete lack of common sense. Blame him for your ridiculous policies that have ruined this province. But two things. 1. blame US for re-electing you. 2. DO NOT ..... EVER! ..... call yourself a leader

  • john h bernard
    December 20, 2012 - 07:14

    With Ghizz it is everybody else s fault, it is never his government doing, its the federals and the world and the ecomony. We should all demand and march on the lt governor's house and ask for an election

  • gaudet
    December 20, 2012 - 07:07

    "Ghiz also weighed in on Harpers reluctance to meet with the Premiers", buh=hu=hu ----the people of PEI also weighed in on Ghiz reluctance to meet with people on plan B, --- is this one coward calling the other a coward -----

  • laurie
    December 20, 2012 - 07:02

    This sad excuse for a Premier is trying to give the impression that he is a mover and a shaker in National health care, --- he can't even run this place in an intelligent fashion, but leave us i unprecedented debt. Go away with you Ghiz , we are here on the ground, we know what we see---- failure-and arrogance

  • ralph
    December 20, 2012 - 06:59

    Ah the coward, ---- blaming Harper, but I guess if you have created nothing but fiasco yourself, you have to turn to blaming others. -- Ah this sad excuse for a Premier, and we have to live with him for a while yet..

  • Casper
    December 20, 2012 - 06:43

    'We have done more in our term than others have in 11 years,' he said, --- he forgot one word there, - "We have done more DAMAGE than others have in 11 years", is the correct wording.'

  • hmattl
    December 20, 2012 - 06:42

    I am a little sick of Ghiz, either blaming Ottawa, or the previous administration or the boogeyman. We elected him to be our Leader, and I must say, his leadership style is not what I had in mind. He has sabotaged the taxation system (HST), the PNP Program, our Financial situation, our Education and Health care systems, and so on... He made election promises he never kept and had no intention of keeping. It;'s not a proud time to be an Islander

  • kevin
    December 20, 2012 - 06:37

    And there he sits gloating the the admirering glances from the repoerter. We all pretend here, - that this man is a leader and a credible Premier, -- after all the lies and deceits, --- after all the crazy spending, and the debt we find outselves in. This man has the nerve to attack the PRIME MINISTER for not giving us enough money, - having wasted money hand over fist with crazy health initiatives e.g. Health PEI, just to have a scape goat on the health front..

  • Garth Staples
    December 20, 2012 - 06:34

    I always found in an agreement when each party did their best ,negotiations were rarely necessary. Like a terrier this PEI Liberal Govt has constantly been yapping at the Harper Govt. Pretty soon one becomes tuned out to the constant snipping. Provinces are responsible for the administration and level of healthcare. It is about time the PEI Liberal govt got its financial house in order. Who through the dog out???

  • John W.A,. Curtis
    December 20, 2012 - 06:28

    Liberal M.P. Scott Brison talked about provinces taking federal money and spending the money on excess provincial jobs instead of health services. and education. Brison was also critical of Atlantic Loto because of the addiction problems that are created. I want to know why P.E.I. hasn't sued Atlantic Loto for costs to pay addiction treatment since P.E.I. is suing tobacco companies.

  • scf
    December 20, 2012 - 01:26

    If this was supposed to be a negotiation, then what was Ghiz offering in return for more health care funding? That would be nothing. Harper gave him 6% increases every year anyway, which is far more than generous. Ghiz should make some real changes to improve health care, rather than his crybaby routine. Harper dishes out the money and Ghiz offers nothing and does nothing.

  • Michael V Marsh
    December 19, 2012 - 23:42

    I note that from some of the comments, Islanders worry that Ghiz may incite Harpers' wrath. I believe they are correct to worry. He is one of the most vindictive sons of bitches I have ever seen.

  • don
    December 19, 2012 - 23:31

    Just a few statements of what dizzy maid "A new government must ensure that our public service is freed from political taint." - Robert Ghiz End political patronage. End MLA appointments to executive council committees. Lower gas taxes. We don't believe it's that big of a promise." - Robert Ghiz Increase level of services in community hospitals During the 2007 campaign, Liberal Leader Robert Ghiz made regular references to statistics that he said showed Islanders were worse off than other Canadians, and promised to fix those problems: Per capital spending on drugs lowest in the country. "We believe in the following principle: Every Islander deserves access to a family physician. And, we will achieve that goal within the time frame of the initial mandate of a new Liberal government," Ghiz said at a news conference on May 7, 2011. "I want you to write that one down because I expect to be held accountable for that commitment. No more arbitrary numbers or shell games in the health care system. I will not play that game, and if elected a new Liberal government will ensure that every Islander has access to a family doctor, period." Dizzy you made this statement and was in the globe and mail Tuesday, Sept. 06 2011,Mr. Ghiz, who has promised to deliver a balanced budget by 2013-14. what happened? Ghiz said he stands by his record.“We have done more in our short time here than the previous institution ever did in their 11 years of power.” and to think you all voted for him. Be proud. Your liberal MLA'S LIED to you just to get voted back in. check out this link. and see what he said on HST. http://www.theguardian.pe.ca/Decision-11/Local-News-/2011-09-08/article-2743673/Political-leaders-say-no-to-HST/1 Lets if guardian will post this?

  • hollinm
    December 19, 2012 - 22:49

    The government has been funding healthcare at the rate of 6% per annum for 10 years plus the $10 billion Paul Martin committed over 10 years. I don't think there are many Canadians in any of the provinces who would say healthcare has improved in respect to access and treatment. Obviously the problems are not just money. It is the job of the Premiers to fix their healthcare systems...not the federal government. Ghiz should do his job. However, funding above the rate of growth in the economy with a min. funding threshold of 3% seems reasonable. You can't spend what you don't have.

  • waste of time
    December 19, 2012 - 22:35

    Yes Harper is tight with the bucks...BUT..the public wants the answers on the erupting scandal of the PNP... and our massive debt......they want accountability and neither issue going away...........these year end goody-goody talks are a waste of time............

  • Malcolm McGowan
    December 19, 2012 - 21:45

    Premier, take your medication! Not very smart to attack the hand that feeds. You are given ample funds for healthcare on PEI. You choose to spend it on the parallel bureaucracy you created, Health PEI. Many of us dislike Harper too......... but... please shut your mouth!

  • Joe Blow
    December 19, 2012 - 21:36

    Its funny how Ghiz doesn't like it when Harper gives him a "take it or not" deal on the tale for him, but yet that is how Ghiz is running PEI!!! The public have begged him to come clean about the PNP scandal, we've begged to listen to the public when it comes to the massive amount of unneeded money he's wasting on Plan B and we've begged him to hear us when it comes to HST but in every instance he has told us to take it or leave it. And Wes Sheridan has even gone so far as to tell a long time Islander to leave PEI if and head to a tax free area if they don't like the HST!!! Ghiz is the worst Premier in Canada and him and his Liberal party are the biggest hipocrites I can think of. I'm no fan of Harper and him selling Canada to China either....but for Ghiz to cry about Harper giving him a "Take it of leave it" ultimatum is just a joke!!!