Kinew, Trudeau to make Manitoba health funding announcement

The Manitoba government’s focus on health care — a key part of the NDP election campaign last fall — is set to get help from the feds, with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in the province Thursday.

The PM is expected to sign a health-care agreement with Premier Wab Kinew, after the two governments agreed in principle on a plan last year that would provide $1.22 billion in federal funding to Manitoba over the next decade for shared health care priorities.

It’s similar to deals signed by other provinces. Ontario signed earlier this month for $3.1 billion in federal health-care funding over three years, with a focus on increasing access to family doctors, reducing backlogs and adding more health-care workers.

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“We’ve spoken on the phone a few times to date, but this will be the first in-person meeting,” Kinew told 680 CJOB’s The Start. “The good news is we’ve got some more resources for our health care system here in Manitoba, and I know that’s a top priority for all of our people in this province.”

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Kinew said among other initiatives, the province is focused on cutting down bureaucracy for internationally trained workers, as Manitoba attempts to shore up staffing in the industry.

“There are people in Manitoba right now who are working — maybe as an aide — but could be working as a nurse if we move that along. So that’s one of the other priorities we’ll be focusing on with this,” he said. “Every one of these cases has a unique and complex explanation, but at the end of the day, it’s just bureaucracy. We’re saying ‘let’s just cut through the excuses… let’s focus on solutions instead of excuses’.”

The premier said there will also be a seniors’ component to Thursday afternoon’s announcement.

Click to play video: '‘It starts with 20’: New practical nurse training centre opens in Neepawa, Man.'

‘It starts with 20’: New practical nurse training centre opens in Neepawa, Man.

With files from The Canadian Press

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