Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe says he will not concede to any request by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to have a digital ID be a condition of augmented federal health-care funding.
The announcement was made in a response letter from Moe to citizens who inquired with the his office regarding this aspect of upcoming Canada Health Transfer negotiations in a meeting with Trudeau and other premiers on Feb. 7.
“The Government of Saskatchewan is not creating a Digital ID nor will we accept any requirements for the creation of a Digital ID tied to healthcare funding,” wrote Moe.
“The Government of Saskatchewan will not share any personal medical information with the federal government. This information is protected under The Health Information Protection Act and will remain so.
“The Government of Saskatchewan may share already publicly available healthcare statistics, including the number of physicians in Saskatchewan and surgical wait times if requested by any party, including the federal government.”
Saskatchewan citizens’ group Unified Grassroots rallied supporters to contact the premier’s office, MLAs, and the provincial privacy commissioner to ask Moe to resist Trudeau’s plea for a national health ID.
“With the introduction of vaccine passports last year, we have seen how quickly private medical information can be weaponized and used to destroy the very fabric of our society,” read the template letter the organization suggested to supporters.
“A national health identity system could once again open the door to discrimination, stigmatization and division at home and in the international space. In addition, it would be in violation of the spirit of the Canadian Bill of Rights, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the Saskatchewan Public Health Act and the Health Information Privacy Act (HIPA).”
Unified Grassroots president Nadine Ness was glad the premier responded.
“I’m glad that he took the time to respond to the numerous people that called him and emailed him,” Ness told the Epoch Times by email.
“It shows how much this whole digital ID is very concerning for a lot of people in Saskatchewan. So I’m glad that he’s listening and responding. And it’s something I wish he had done all along, and maybe less mistakes would have been made by his party,” she said.
“There was a time when they weren’t listening to people and they weren’t listening to the public because they felt that they already had the power,” she noted, adding that “while I don’t blindly trust that they will hold to those words in that letter, I’m hoping they will.”
Moe remained aligned with other premiers on the request for more health-care dollars.
“In recent years, federal funding of healthcare has fallen from 35 per cent of healthcare costs to 22 per cent. That is why it is critical to get a new Canada Health Transfer agreement where the federal government returns to a full funding partner of healthcare,” wrote Moe.
“The Government of Saskatchewan will not surrender or weaken any personal health privacy rights when signing a new Canada Health Transfer agreement. Instead, we will work diligently toward a funding agreement that benefits Saskatchewan people by investing in healthcare in both rural and urban areas of our province.”
Lee Harding is a journalist and think tank researcher based in Saskatchewan, and a contributor to The Epoch Times.