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Moe looking for health-care, vaccine centre funding in federal budget

With the federal government’s budget set to be released, Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe told reporters on Friday what he is hoping to see in it.

Moe said what he is most looking for is for the federal government to commit to being a full-funding partner of health-care.

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“The premiers across this nation, both territorial and provincial, have asked the federal government for a lift to the Canada Health Transfer that we have, and that should be the front and foremost largest item of this budget, is a plan to either move their quickly or transition there over the next year or two,” Moe said.

Moe said he would also like to see funding allocated for the University of Saskatchewan’s Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization, VIDO-InterVac.

In February, VIDO-InterVac’s director Dr. Volker Gerdts said construction on the vaccine development facility should be complete by October. Gerdts told Global News he hopes production can begin in 2022, once the facility gets regulatory approval.

The federal government has invested $46 million in the manufacturing station, Trudeau said in February.

Click to play video: VIDO-InterVac takes steps forward in COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials

Moe said this funding would “ultimately provide” Canadians with a sense of security that if a COVID variant arises that is not protected by current vaccines, researchers at VIDO-InterVac would be able to step in quickly.

“We’d be able to adapt to addressing that issue very quickly with the research capability, the development capability and ultimately production capability that VIDO-InterVac is working towards.”

He said the Saskatchewan government will also be looking to the federal government to not just announce infrastructure, but deliver the dollars needed to build communities across the province.

“Obviously looking for the $126 million that the federal government owes the province of Sask. with respect to the low carbon economy fund. I think we’re going to have to send them an invoice.”

Moe added that he is also concerned about what deficit the country may be looking at once the federal government unveils its budget.

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He believes Canadians understand supports are needed to help provide for Canadians in the largest economic event governments have managed since the Second World War, but questioned what the government’s plan is to get back to balance.

“We’ll be looking for the indications that this federal government is actually working towards and has a plan to structurally get the Canadian fiscal house in order like we are here in Saskatchewan,” Moe said.

– with files from Anna McMillan

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