Federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh is urging the prime minister to ensure any new healthcare deal with the provinces addresses staffing shortages.
Speaking at a news conference in Nanaimo, British Columbia Thursday morning, Singh applauded Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for finally setting a meeting with the first ministers, something he said his party has long been calling for and demanding.
However, Singh also expressed his concerns that Trudeau has not opposed plans by Premier Doug Ford and Alberta Premier Danielle Smith to turn to private, for-profit clinics to clear a backlog of some surgeries caused by the pandemic.
"Private, for-profit delivery of care will only make the problems worse," Singh warned. "It'll cannibalize the public system, taking away frontline healthcare workers from ERs and putting them into private, for-profit clinics. That is not the solution."
Singh said the NDP believes in a universal, public healthcare system, that is well funded where workers are taken care of and respected.
"If the plan or the agreement that the prime minister signs with the premiers doesn't include a plan to retain and recruit and hire thousands more nurses and doctors and frontline healthcare workers, the plan will have been a failure," he said.
Trudeau is set to meet with the premiers on February 7.