Last Tuesday, at an event in Thunder Bay that connected online with Sioux Lookout in Northern Ontario, Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff committed a future Liberal government to achieving 100% high-speed internet coverage, to reach 800,000 Canadians in rural and remote communities who currently have no high-speed internet access.
At locations as far removed from rural Canada as possible (coffee shops in downtown Toronto and Montreal), the Conservatives announced funding to provide broadband internet coverage to only 169,000 Canadians – only 21% of those who need it.
In 2005, the previous Liberal government announced $100 million for rural broadband. The Conservatives cancelled it in Budget 2006.
After waiting until Budget 2009 to commit rural broadband funding, it took a full 15 months before any funding was committed – and then only because of a Liberal announcement earlier in the week. In their last report card to Canadians, the Conservatives said $100 million would go out in 2009-10. Not one cent went out.