Quebec more 'distraction' than help on health group: Saskatchewan premier
Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jennifer Graham)
The Canadian Press
Published Tuesday, February 5, 2013 3:56PM EST
REGINA -- Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall says it's not surprising that Quebec has pulled out of a national health-care committee set up by the provinces.
Nor is it a problem for continued progress, said Wall, who chairs the group with Prince Edward Island Premier Robert Ghiz.
"As of late, Quebec has been more of a distraction at this table than a constructive partner," Wall said Tuesday in an email to The Canadian Press.
"We have been making significant progress in areas like joint purchase of generic drugs, sharing best practices, bending health care cost curves and improving patient care without a lot of input from Quebec."
The premier was not available for further comment.
The health-care group was established in January 2012 by the Council of the Federation, which was created by premiers to promote interprovincial and territorial co-operation.
The group's goal is to look at better ways to deliver health care and keep it sustainable.
Last month, Wall announced the provinces would bulk buy six widely used generic drugs. He suggested the initiative could save provincial and territorial drug plans up to $100 million once it is fully implemented.
Quebec was the only province to say it would not take part in the drug purchase.
Quebec's decision to pull out of the group altogether was made public Monday. It had been quietly announced in a letter dated Jan. 11 and signed by Health Minister Rejean Hebert and Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Alexandre Cloutier.
Quebec says it intends to concentrate on its own priorities.