Liberal Chief Justin Trudeau stops in Winnipeg, makes $900M promise

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau’s campaign made a stop in Winnipeg on Tuesday, where polls are suggesting his party could gain a few seats.

The Liberals lost two long-time bastions in recent elections to the Conservatives — Winnipeg South Centre and Saint Boniface–Saint Vital.

After touring Carte International, a local company that manufactures transformers for many world markets, Trudeau promised more money for research and development, as well as small business.

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau addresses reporters Tuesday in Winnipeg. (CBC)A Liberal government would put up $200 million a year for three years to help research facilities, small business incubators and exporters, he said, adding another $100 million a year for three years would go toward an industrial research assistance program.

The money will boost the economy and help bring new technologies to market, Trudeau said.

East side road funding

Asked if a Liberal government would help fund the long-sought all-weather road on the east side of Lake Winnipeg, to connect isolated First Nations communities in northern Manitoba, Trudeau touted his promise of $60 billion to be spent over 10 years on infrastructure.Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau tightens final screw on a transformer at Carte International during a photo op on Tuesday morning. (CBC)

But once he emerged from the political spiel, he refocused on the question and said, “yes, we will be the partner Manitoba needs.”

He wouldn’t say how much a Liberal government would provide, but said he would work with provincial and municipal governments, as well as First Nations.

After decades of discussion, in 2009 movement was finally made on the road project, with formal agreements signed for partial funding and training of workers.

The first part of the planned east side all-season road project is 156 kilometres that would stretch from Provincial Road 304 to Berens River (through Hollow Water, Bloodvein and Berens River). The goal is to get to Berens sometime between 2019 and 2020. 

The full, all-season network will link 13 isolated First Nations and be 1,028 kilometres. In 2011, the total cost of the project was estimated at $3 billion.

The road would provide a reliable road for people who currently need to rely on winter ice roads. That, in turn, would provide residents with lower food prices and improved access to health care. 

The province has put forth some funding but Aboriginal Affairs Minister Eric Robinson has said that without federal money, the roads (main road and access roads) could take up to 30 years to complete. 

Following his Winnipeg visit, Trudeau takes his campaign west to Richmond, B.C., to meet with local candidates and supporters.

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