By Patty Hajdu
THUNDER BAY – Travelling through Thunder Bay-Superior North over the past four years I heard time and time again about the challenges with broadband internet, supports for seniors and the need for more flexibility with infrastructure dollars. I have heard you and brought our region’s perspective to Ottawa.
We know that connecting to broadband internet is no longer a luxury, it is vital to the survival of regions like Northwestern Ontario. It’s why last week, Budget 2019 committed to a plan that will bring reliable high speed Internet to 95 percent of Canadian homes and businesses by 2026.
This will help businesses grow, create jobs and connect more people to the resources, services and information they need to build a better future for the north.
Our actions to improve the lives of seniors have been ongoing and with this budget we commit more to ensuring a secure and dignified retirement. With measures to improve access to Canada Pension Plan and protections for workplace pensions, our government has heard the struggles of Northwestern Ontario, in particular those who have suffered as a result of corporate bankruptcy.
We understand the need for municipalities to have the capacity to address their unique infrastructure needs. And we’ve heard how difficult it can be to get projects done with the provincial government. Through a one-time top up to the Federal Gas Tax Transfer, we are increasing the ability for municipalities to manage infrastructure needs. Projects that improve local roads and bridges, community energy systems, and sport and recreation now have more direct funding available. Municipalities know best what their infrastructure priorities are and this will bring millions of dollars to our communities as soon as possible.
Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to talk with me about moving our region forward. I hope you feel heard in Ottawa.