Thank you very much.
First off, I would like to mention that, during the 2011 election, the Conservative government made only one promise about health care, which was to keep the increase in transfers at 6% per year.
This decision goes back on the election promise that the Conservatives made. We have discussed it and heard from witnesses who talked about the impact that decision would have. The two sides see that impact differently. We think that we need to think about health care. Furthermore, that's what the provinces are currently doing. The federal government could play a leadership role and try to gather together all the ideas in order to control health care costs. However, limiting the increase of the health care transfer to only 3% in the fourth year, in a non-negotiated and non-negotiable federal-provincial agreement, is a problem.
There is no magic formula. We cannot simply establish a 3% ceiling for increases in the funding of expenditures per year. There is no magic way of doing that. It is clear to us that this will mean reductions in services and, possibly, in insurable care in the health care systems of the various provinces, including Quebec.
It's unfortunate in several respects. In fact, year after year, and even today, the public health care system is probably the government system that is the most prized by all Canadians. Chances are that shortly, probably after the next election since this measure won't come into effect until about 2015, we will start to see the repercussions of this decrease in transfers, with respect to the federal government's promise during the election. At that point, we may see a decrease in the quality of health care and, possibly, the amount of insurable health care in the provinces.
During the consultations and testimonies, the government said that the provinces themselves had started decreasing their health care budgets. We are saying that, even if that is indeed the case, we mustn't put the cart before the horse. The provinces made the decision based on the signals the federal government sent them. Also, establishing ceilings without necessarily looking at the systemic nature of the growth in the cost of health care will be a problem for most of the provinces.
There is one other thing we have discussed very little in our discussions with the witnesses and officials from the department, and that is the fact that the non-negotiated and non-negotiable agreement that was announced will have different impacts depending on the province. When it comes to health care, at the end of 10 years, Quebec will have lost $9 billion compared with what would have been provided in the previous agreement. Nova Scotia will lose $157 million; British Columbia will lose about $250 million a year, for a total of $2.5 billion over 10 years; Ontario will lose about $20 billion over 10 years. The impact on the provinces will be major and massive, and those provinces should have been around the table to discuss this matter, just like the government and the provinces should have been around the table to discuss the best ways to control the growth of health care costs. Obviously, I haven't mentioned Alberta. It's the only province that will come out ahead in this, with probably about $11 billion dollars more over 10 years.
That aspect is fundamental to that decision, which was made by the federal government, pure and simple.
We were disappointed with another aspect. With respect to the Canadian Social Transfer, which affects social assistance and post-secondary education, among other things, this government decided to establish a growth ceiling of 3% per year until 2024. This corresponds roughly with the current cost of living. The problem is that, currently, we are supporting the provinces and contributing less to the funding of these programs than we did, in constant dollars, prior to 1995, when there were massive reductions in the Canada Social Transfer.
We are extremely disappointed that the government has gone back on its election promise to maintain an annual 6% rate of increase in transfers to the provinces and that it is showing no leadership in controlling the increase in health care costs. This is a very real problem: the costs are rising more quickly than the cost of living. There is also a desire to maintain the status quo in the Canada Social Transfer. That actually means that the government is providing less assistance to the provinces to fund those programs than it did up to 1995.
For those reasons, we are going to vote against most of the clauses from 390 to 410. My colleague here is going to move an amendment.