Time for fighting has passed, Trudeau says ahead of meeting with Manitoba premier
Manitoba is last province standing in health-funding dispute with Ottawa
Manitoba and Ottawa need to take a respectful and positive approach to each other, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday ahead of a meeting with Premier Brian Pallister in Winnipeg this weekend.
"The time in which Canadians want to see levels of governments fighting with each other is long past," Trudeau told reporters in Kenora, Ont.
"They want to see a respectful, positive approach, and that's what I always do."
The prime minister is scheduled to meet with Pallister on Saturday morning after heading into Manitoba for the Canada Summer Games opening ceremony on Friday night.
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Manitoba is the last province standing in a health-funding dispute with Ottawa. Pallister has said he is proud to stand alone and will "not be intimidated by a threat."
The dispute started last fall, when Ottawa said it would limit annual health-care funding increases to three per cent a year and the provinces said that wasn't enough.
Over the ensuing months, individual provinces and territories made separate agreements with the federal government, with Ottawa offering extra money for specific projects in each region. For example, extra money was given to help British Columbia and Alberta deal with opioid abuse.
Pallister also went against Trudeau when he tried to rally support from his provincial and territorial counterparts at the Council of the Federation meetings in Edmonton earlier this month to call for a delay in the legalization of pot.
The premier also wants details about any plans for the Port of Churchill, which laid off its workers a year ago, devastating the town of 899. The closure and resulting cut back of freight service to the community was made worse after heavy snowmelt and spring flooding destroyed the rail line, the Churchill's only land link to the south.
Trudeau went for a boat ride on Lake of the Woods on Friday with his daughter, Ella-Grace, 8, before stopping to take a few questions from reporters on nearby docks. Kenora, Ont., is hosting rowing events for the Canada Games on the lake.
"I know that provinces across the country are excited about getting fresh money from the federal government for things like home care and health care," Trudeau said.
"These are the things that matter for citizens and I certainly hope to move forward, to serve the people of Manitoba with a federal partnership. We are going to continue to work constructively and look for positive working relationships with everyone."
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After the tour through the deep, clear freshwater lake, Trudeau stopped for a barbecue in Kenora, where people gathered to take photos and ask questions.
The prime minister was surrounded by people from the cottage country who excitedly hoped to catch a photo of the prime minister, and also ask him about policy and politics, especially surrounding pipelines and the environment.
Trudeau then made his way to Winnipeg to meet with Mayor Brian Bowman before heading to the opening of the Canada Summer Games Friday evening.
The opening ceremony will include a performance by Ontario singer Serena Ryder, Coeur de Pirate from Quebec and Winnipeg's own the Bros. Landreth.
Thousands of athletes, coaches and staff from across Canada have already poured into Winnipeg for the Games. The competition starts Saturday and continues until Aug. 13.