Quebec defends decision to cut inflation cheques and ask Ottawa for more health funds

Quebec Finance Minister Eric Girard is defending his government's decision to transfer one-time cash payments to most Quebecers while it demands more money from Ottawa for health care.

Girard told reporters in Quebec City the payments of up to $600 will help Quebecers deal with temporary inflation, adding that health care is a recurring cost that needs stable, long-term funding.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau criticized provinces that are seeking more money from Ottawa for health care while spending billions of dollars in inflation-related payments or tax cuts.

Trudeau was also referring to New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs, whose government is asking for more health-care funding and also cutting taxes for high earners.

All 13 provincial and territorial premiers are asking Ottawa to increase its share of health-care costs to 35 per cent from 22 per cent.

The 6.5 million Quebecers who earned less than $100,000 in 2021 are set to receive payments of $400 or $600 in December, and the province has also promised income tax cuts in 2023.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 9, 2022.

The Canadian Press