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Closed for Business: Pallister PCs Blocking Federal Infrastructure & COVID Support Fund

Treaty 1 Territory, Winnipeg - Even as the Pallister PCs are pushing to reopen Manitoba's borders in the name of economic growth, the Manitoba Government is turning away federal money for transit while hundreds of millions in federal infrastructure funds sit idle.

Last week, the Federal Government announced over $19-billion in COVID-19 funding for provinces and municipalities across a range of programs.

Manitoba refused to sign on to the transit funding where the Federal Government would match provincial contributions dollar-for-dollar. The Ontario PC government of Doug Ford will get $500-million.

Just as bad, the Government of Manitoba is sitting on proposals for hundreds of millions of dollars in municipal infrastructure projects while 90% of $1.1-billion in federal infrastructure funds are sitting untouched.

B.C. has allocated nearly 50% of the funds to projects. Alberta has allocated well over 50%.

"The Pallister PCs are turning down funding that doubles provincial investments in transit, while municipalities are losing an entire construction season," says Manitoba Liberal Leader Dougald Lamont, MLA for St. Boniface. "Hundreds of thousands of Manitobans are on federal benefits and the PCs are actively blocking investment in Manitoba that would put people back to work."

The Pallister Government has consistently been one of the last provinces to sign onto federal funding agreements for infrastructure, housing and health care. Recently, it came to light that the PCs missed an application date so Manitoba farmers won't be eligible for federal funding to help pay for drying grain.

Lamont says there is no question that the bottleneck is the provincial government. Federal infrastructure agreements set out broad funding categories. Municipal Governments submit projects, but it is the Provincial Government that chooses which ones move forward, not the Federal Government.

"There is only one reason these projects are not moving forward, and that is because they are sitting on someone's desk in the legislature," says Lamont. "It was bad when the PCs were doing this before the pandemic. In this crisis, turning down and delaying hundreds of millions of dollars that will put people to work is reckless."



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