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Manitoba to spend $150M more than budgeted to help with inflation, health care

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WINNIPEG -

The Manitoba government says it's spending $150 million more than it forecasted in the previous budget to ease costs in the health-care system, for municipal projects and to offset inflation.

The money is part of an $850-million funding package approved by the Progressive Conservative government through a special warrant.

Part of the money, $200 million announced earlier this week, is going to a second round of cheques to help people deal with inflation.

Eight water and wastewater projects are to receive about $100 million, while $40 million will go toward the expansion of CentrePort, North America's largest tri-modal inland port.

Premier Heather Stefanson has hinted her government may end a freeze on municipal operating funding as part of the spring budget.

The Opposition NDP said the funding doesn't make up for seven years of cuts made to Winnipeg and other communities while the Tories have been in government.

"Since they took office, the Progressive Conservative's have frozen municipal funding, forcing communities to make cuts to services families rely on and starving them of resources they need to thrive," Matt Wiebe, critic for municipal affairs, said Friday.

Stefanson said the province is also considering building on federal grants for transit funding for municipalities.

Winnipeg Mayor Scott Gillingham welcomed the funding commitments from the province.

"There's significant pressures that we face as a city. Indications from the premier today is good news for the City of Winnipeg."

Gillingham added that the city has been facing its own budget deficits due to inflation, the COVID-19 pandemic and weather events.

   This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 27, 2023.

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