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Bail reform/health care dominate Premiers’ meeting

By Randy Thoms Jul 11, 2023 | 9:19 PM

Quebec Premier, François Legault and Manitoba Premier Heather Stefanson address media at the Council of the Federation meeting in Winnipeg, MB, July 11, 2023

Canada’s Premier and Territorial leaders want the federal government to move forward on reforming the Criminal Code of Canada.

It was one of the topics dominating discussions at the Council of the Federation meeting in Winnipeg.

The desire for change stems from the rise in violent crime and repeat offenders.

Chair, and Manitoba Premier, Heather Stefanson, says bail reform is long overdue.

“The federal government cannot further delay necessary bail reform. People in every province and territory should not have to wait any longer. We cannot afford to wait longer for better protection from random violence caused by repeat and dangerous offenders and to better target criminals using guns and other weapons,” says Stefanson.

She says the provinces and territories are doing their part with increased investments in policing to combat crime, gangs and domestic violence while providing additional mental health and addiction supports.

The leaders also spend a significant part of the meeting on Wednesday discussing health care.

Last year, they lobbied the federal government for an increase in transfer payments, receiving a new $46 billion deal in return.

Stefanson says that represents a mere 2% of their budgets.

“So that’s a significant challenge. But we also recognize that we need to get together again and have a discussion about how we can share best practices, what is working in some provinces and what we can learn from in other provinces. And so we have agreed to have another standalone meeting on how we can share the knowledge across jurisdictions right across the country sometime later this year.”

No date has been set for that meeting.

Other issues touched upon included ways to build a stronger labour force, the labour market challenges and ensuring Arctic security and sovereignty.

Tomorrow they are expected to speak about housing and infrastructure.


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