OTTAWA – ELECTION 2015 – Prime Minister Stephen Harper today promised his government would continue to dramatically improve broadband connectivity in rural Canada.
“Quite simply, there is probably no infrastructure more critical than the internet to ensuring the future prosperity of our vast country,” said Prime Minister Harper. “In today’s digital economy, access to the internet is essential to create jobs, realize economic opportunities and connect Canadians to online services.”
While Canada is one of the most connected nations in the world, some gaps in broadband access still exist, particularly in rural and remote areas of the country.
The Harper Government has already made significant progress to expand broadband access in rural communities. Between 2009 and 2012, the government helped finance projects to connect nearly 220,000 Canadians. The 2014 Economic Action Plan provided further funding which is poised to bring higher-speed internet to 356,000 households by 2017.
Today, the Prime Minister announced that a re-elected Conservative government would set aside a further $200 million to support major new investments in fibre broadband infrastructure in rural and remote communities that currently lack high-speed internet.
“Canadians who live in rural areas expect and deserve the same quality of life and access to services,” said the Prime Minister. “By investing in rural broadband, we are not only improving the quality of life of rural Canadians, we are helping to fuel economic growth in rural areas.”
In addition to expanding rural broadband access, the Prime Minister noted his government’s strong record of supporting rural Canada, including the financing of local roads, bridges and community infrastructure, support for the agricultural industry and financial assistance for rural health professionals and volunteer firefighters.
The Prime Minister noted that both Justin Trudeau and Thomas Mulcair had voted against the Harper Government’s plans to expand rural broadband.
“Justin cares about big city issues, like legalizing marijuana. He doesn’t understand the values and concerns of rural Canada,” said Prime Minister Harper. “He lacks the experience, knowledge and judgment to help rural Canada succeed.”
“The policies of Mulcair and the NDP will lead to economic chaos and wreck the economy,” the Prime Minister said. “From a carbon tax-on-everything, to their opposition to resource development, the NDP’s policies would hurt rural Canada. Rural Canadians cannot afford Mulcair and the NDP.”