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The money was already budgeted in the provincial government’s first-quarter update. But the $338 million outlined there, and in Moe’s letter, is much lower than the more than $500 million he initially signalled was coming down the pipe in July.
At a media availability on Wednesday, Moe said part of the discrepancy stems from the fact that some of the federal support is coming in kind. “Some of the PPE will come in actual product as opposed to dollars,” he said.
More importantly, the federal government is also running a sick leave program on its own, so that money will not flow through the province. A share of the $19 billion initially announced in July will go to pay for that program.
But it appears that part of the discrepancy also stems from Saskatchewan pledging less matching funding on transit than other provinces. Manitoba, for instance, put in $33 million and got $33 million back from Ottawa. Nova Scotia put in $16 million and got $16 million in federal funds.
Saskatchewan contributed only $8 million, so it received less money than it could have to support transit.
Moe noted that some of the federal money will backfill existing provincial expenses that are already budgeted, while some will be new funding that could support new spending.
Though Moe was eager to criticize the federal government during his media availability, notably on the carbon tax, he was gracious about the Safe Restart money.
“We are very fortunate and thankful that the federal government has stepped into the space of providing funding through the provinces,” he said.
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