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Fact Files

Saturday, Feb. 4, 2006



Department: Health
Allan Rock
Rock at a glance:
• MP for Etobicoke Centre in Toronto
• Appointed health minister in 1997
• Prior portfolio was Justice.

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• Health Canada - home page

Minister in charge: Allan Rock

What happened: An increased $75-million annually for the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and $95-million for the Canadian Institute for Health Information. No new funding for health care although the government will proceed with its $23.4-billion commitment to support health care and early childhood development agreements with the provinces and territories, as announced in September 2000.

Financial details: In the February 2000 budget - one year after Finance Minister Paul Martin said $11.5-billion would be invested in health care over the next five years through increased transfer payments - Ottawa gave the provinces an additional $2.5-billion in transfer payments for health care and post-secondary education. Also, the seven poorest provinces got an extra $500-million in equalization payments to make sure Canadians have equal access to similar services. Health Canada got $105-million, with an undisclosed portion earmarked for disease control and food-and-drug testing. About $90-million was set aside for use over the next three years to strengthen departments that regulate biotechnology products, such as genetically modified foods. In September 2000, Ottawa promised the provinces a further $23.4-billion over five years for health care and education, just before calling a federal election and after high-profile discussions with provinces.

Responsibilities: According to its Web site, the department, working with the provincial and territorial governments, "provides national leadership to develop health policy, enforce health regulations, promote disease prevention and enhance healthy living for all Canadians. Health Canada ensures that health services are available and accessible to First Nations and Inuit communities. It also works closely with other federal departments, agencies and health stakeholders to reduce health and safety risks to Canadians."

What to expect: Mr. Martin hinted during the 2000 budget that more money aimed toward health care would come in next budget and recently told reporters that Ottawa will stand by its promise to boost health care spending and cut personal taxes. Still, there is speculation that Ottawa could be forced to roll back other commitments in order to pay for new initiatives in national security and the military in the wake of the recent terrorist attacks on the United States. "We've made it very clear that we're looking at all of our spending, and that we will certainly be reallocating from lower priorities to higher priority areas," Mr. Martin said on Oct. 16, about one week before officially saying there would be a budget presented in December. "The transfers to the provinces for health and education, the personal tax cuts, the corporate tax cuts, are going to be protected."

Critics:
Canadian Alliance: Diane Ablonczy
Bloc Québécois: Réal Ménard
New Democratic Party: Judy Wasylycia-Leis
PC/DR Coalition: André Bachand


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