Canada election 2015: Harper pledges $200M for rural broadband
2014 plan to bring high-speed internet to 280,000 homes by 2017 to beat goal, Conservative leader says
Conservative Leader Stephen Harper promised an additional $200 million to improve broadband service in rural areas and remote communities if elected on Oct. 19 during a campaign stop at an agricultural retail store in Lancaster, Ont.
The funding for fibre broadband infrastructure would come over the course of seven years and be in addition to an earlier commitment.
Harper said that the 2014 plan to bring high-speed internet to 280,000 homes by 2017 is on track to surpass its goal, reaching more than 350,000 homes on budget by that date.
"Fast, reliable internet today is essential to realizing economic opportunity and to creating jobs," he said, standing in front of supporters flanked by tractors and sitting on bales of hay.
"We know that when communities big and small are wired for success, hard-working, enterprising Canadians can get in there with the best in the world and succeed."
Harper repeated that Canada needs to "stay the course" with the Conservative plan for balanced budgets and low taxes as the global markets slumps.
NDP Leader Tom Mulcair has promised to present a balanced budget if elected on Oct. 19 — a plan that includes scrapping the Conservative income-splitting policy, increasing corporate taxes and redistributing those funds to other priorities, such as childcare and a tax credit for manufacturers.
Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau has not ruled out running a deficit in the face of a recession. He accused Mulcair of being "disingenuous" by suggesting he could meet NDP promises and also balance the budget.
With files from Chloe Fedio and Susan Lunn