WHY WAS FEDNOR CUT OUT OF BROADBAND REVIEW?

Why did the Trudeau government ignore Fed Nor when it launched a massive consultation process on the broadband needs of rural Canada? According to documents obtained by Charlie Angus, the Liberal government established a broad consultation process in 2016-2017 with all manner of provincial, municipal and regional development agencies. But they opted to leave out Fed Nor.

Angus wants to know why.

One of the key findings of this consultation process is that widespread shortfalls in broadband services exist across Northern Ontario. It doesn’t make any sense that the government would sideline FedNor from the discussion. I am worried that this is part of the Liberal government’s ongoing diminishment of the vital role FedNor plays.”

Following the election of 2015, the Liberal government cancelled FedNor involvement in a number of key broadband projects that were set to roll out. The government then did away with the regional minister for FedNor. In the recent federal budget, the only reference to FedNor was a vague statement that the government was considering consolidating all regional development agencies under the Minister of Innovation.

Angus says this undermining of FedNor is shortsighted.

The north has been limping along with underfunded regional economic development funding for years. But FedNor consistently punches above its weight because it understands the distinct regional issues facing the rural north. It makes no sense for the government to sideline such a key player from such an important issue as broadband connectivity.”