WINNIPEG – The Manitoba government says it’s being threatened by the federal government in ongoing negotiations over health funding.
The province says a federal official has raised the spectre of millions in funding for a new research facility being pulled if a health-care deal is not reached.
Manitoba is the last province without a unilateral 10-year agreement on health transfer payments that other provinces have signed in recent months.
Michael Richards, Manitoba’s deputy minister of intergovernmental affairs, has written federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s chief of staff.
He says the chief of staff linked the outcome of a health deal to $60 million promised in 2015 for a manufacturing research facility at the National Research Council in Winnipeg.
Richards says the federal official also tied health talks to Manitoba’s agreement on a national climate-change plan — a move Richards calls an unacceptable added source of tension.
“These linkages … are clearly completely unacceptable to my government,” Richards wrote in the March 14 letter to Richard Maksymetz, Morneau’s chief of staff.
“They introduce further unnecessary friction and discord between our respective governments. And they are plainly irreconcilable with any notion of collaborative federalism.”