Province to blame for Manitoba infrastructure hold-ups, says Liberal MP
Over the past few months, the Pallister government has been at the centre of several funding disputes, with each level of government pointing the finger at the other.
Monday, Federal Liberal MP Dan Vandal added his voice to the ongoing saga in the form of a new radio advertisement accusing the Manitoba government of leaving more than a billion dollars in funding on the table.
The ad, which runs on 680 CJOB, claims the feds have made more than $1.1 billion in infrastructure funding available to the province, however, a large portion of the funds remain untapped.
“The vast majority of that money is being left on the table,” Vandal told Global News. “The province are not helpful at all on many different files and it’s getting frustrating.”
Of a total $1.1 billion for the province, $85 million is earmarked for the fiscal year that begins April 1.
Vandal said when you add in health care dollars not being taken advantage of, it adds even more lost dollars to the mix.
“Most of the bilateral (agreements) the province has not signed,” Vandal told Global News. “And they’ve been very, very slow with the ones they’ve signed to roll out the money. We know this is a crisis and we need to get road improvements underway.”
Manitoba is among a handful of provinces that haven’t signed Ottawa’s health accord, which means $399.6 million for mental health and home care can’t be allocated.
However, the premier said Ottawa isn’t telling the whole story.
“This is a Liberal-manufactured issue to distract Manitobans from the ongoing scandals in Ottawa,” Premier Brian Pallister said in an email statement to Global News.
Pallister said it’s the federal government that’s holding up funds from being funneled to Manitoba.
“Federal delays are impacting multiple large and important pending infrastructure initiatives in Manitoba,” he said.
Pallister pointed to at least five projects that have encountered federal delays.
His office said Manitoba had submitted five applications last year for Manitoba’s $67-million share of the Low-Carbon Economy Fund but are still waiting federal action.
It also said a $168-million phase 2 green infrastructure project that was submitted by the province almost a year ago and has been under federal review ever since.
The largest portion of funds the province said it’s still waiting for is $540 million for the Lake Manitoba outlet channels project to protect Manitoba communities and farms from flooding.
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