|Ex-Premier Gordon Campbell & Finance Minister Kevin Falcon - asleep at the switch|
Why? Because the federal Conservatives just pulled the rug out from under BC and other provinces' funding, six ways from Sunday.
Flaherty surprised provincial finance ministers by unilaterally announcing that Ottawa will end current health care funding increases of 6% a year by 2017, despite rising costs, leaving the provinces to make up the difference.
The new plan will also reduce BC's per capita health care funding because Ottawa's funding formula doesn't deal with our aging population's hire costs, meaning up to an additional $250 million a year will be lost.
But too late - Falcon was already on the record: "From B.C.'s perspective, we think certainty is good thing," he said. "We cannot ignore what is taking place around the world."
Huh? What's going on is that BC is getting shafted and Falcon was sticking up for his federal Conservative friends, not British Columbia.
Quebec's Finance Minister Raymond Bachand wasn't as thick as Falcon.
Bachand called the unilateral federal decision to dramatically reduce funding "totally unacceptable."
Nova Scotia Premier Darrell Dexter called it "profoundly disappointing".
Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall said it was "frustrating".
Ontario Finance Minister Dwight Duncan said the provinces will lose $21 billion.
"It means less access to quality health care," Duncan said.
By Tuesday even Falcon had figured out that BC was being shafted.
And his hardline response? He'll ask the federal government to "adjust" the per capita formula - but if BC got that "we'd be very happy with the rest of the package."
Falcon and BC Premier Christy Clark have also thrown in the towel on getting repayment of the federal Harmonized Sales Tax grant of $1.6 billion reduced to reflect the period of time the HST will have been in effect.
Now they are hoping to claim "victory" by getting an extended lay-away plan to repay the entire amount.
Just one question - wouldn't you love to play poker with these jokers?
Jim Flaherty must be laughing all the way back to Ottawa.