A $60-million high-tech centre promised for Manitoba is not being held up by Premier Brian Pallister's refusal to sign a health-care funding deal with Ottawa, says Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Trudeau reaffirmed his government's commitment to the Factory of the Future project in Winnipeg on Wednesday. Once completed, the high-tech facility would be used for advanced aerospace and automotive manufacturing research.
The prime minister refuted Pallister's claims that federal funding for the project, which was promised more than two years ago, is contingent on whether he signs a health-care transfer deal.
"We remain committed to the Factory of the Future and we want to make sure that it happens well," Trudeau told reporters.
"As for the premier's headspace, he'll have to explain that."
Manitoba is the lone holdout in the federal health accord, which offers a three per cent increase in federal health care transfers. Pallister has said that's not enough.
A letter written by a senior Manitoba civil servant earlier this month, and addressed to the federal finance minister's chief of staff, indicated Ottawa was linking Pallister's stance on the health-funding deal and the Factory of the Future money.
But Trudeau said he cannot explain why Pallister is making that link.
"I have always been very positive in my conversations with Premier Pallister about the Factory [of] the Future," said Trudeau.
"I know that the minister of innovation and the National Research Council are moving forward on it."
CBC News has contacted Pallister's office for comment.