June 15th, 2017

Health Minister unable to explain HIV funding contradiction

OTTAWA – On Thursday, Health Minister Jane Philpott was asked to explain why she misinformed the Standing Committee on Health that HIV organizations would benefit from $30 million of new funding when that funding does not exist in the budget.

“I’ve got the departmental documents right here,” Don Davies, the NDP’s Health Critic, said in Question Period. “There’s not a single cent of new funding.”

In April, Davies asked Minister Philpott about a Liberal government decision to cut funding to 33% of organizations that support Canadians living with HIV. The Minister responded by saying, “In fact, we did get new investments in the budget to expand the Federal Initiative on HIV in the order of $30 million of new funding that will support this.”

Davies acquired departmental spending documents that show both the Federal Initiative on HIV and the Community Action Fund, which directly fund the HIV groups, have received no new budgetary funding.

Davies asked today “Will the Minister now apologize for misleading these organizations and Canadians living with HIV?” but Philpott refused to answer the question or admit any wrongdoing.

Gary Lacasse, Executive Director of Canadian AIDS Society joined Davies after Question Period to discuss the effects of these cuts and how he was informed that the Minister “mis-spoke” during her committee testimony.