Peterborough – The Government of Canada recognizes the critical role that rural communities play in our country’s economic and social well-being. That is why the Government supports investments that will grow local economies, improve social inclusiveness, and safeguard the health and environment of rural communities.
Today, Maryam Monsef, Member of Parliament for Peterborough-Kawartha, and Minister for Women and Gender Equality, and Rural Economic Development discussed the federal government’s efforts to advance rural economic development during a roundtable discussion hosted by the Greater Peterborough Chamber of Commerce.
“The best thing I did when I received my WAGE portfolio was pick up the phone and call local leaders. To do something similar today is important because we will all succeed if we stay connected to those lived experiences,” said Monsef. “It was also beneficial to have my Rural Economic Development staff from Ottawa join the roundtable to hear directly from our community leaders in Peterborough-Kawartha.”
Representatives from Peterborough Kawartha Economic Development, Community Futures Peterborough, Peterborough County Federation of Agriculture, Kawartha Manufactures Association, the Innovation Cluster, Fleming College and Trent University were among those in attendance at the roundtable.
“Rural Economic Development is an important pillar of our local economy,” said Stuart Harrison, President and CEO of the Greater Peterborough Chamber of Commerce. “To have our local MP as the new Minister is a great opportunity to have our voice and perspective heard at the Cabinet table. We appreciate Minister Monsef’s willingness to meet with us early on in her mandate to gain a strong understanding of the issues facing rural communities.”
Monsef referenced a number of federal investments that would help stimulate economic growth locally, including the Via Rail proposal for a high frequency rail line corridor from Toronto to Quebec City which would run through Peterborough. In June, she announced that the Government of Canada and Canada Infrastructure Bank are committing a total of $71.1 million in new funding to complete additional planning activities over the next two years to advance the proposal.
Making life more affordable is another priority. That is why the Government’s first action under its new mandate was to table plans to increase the Basic Personal Amount (BPA) to $15,000 by 2023. When fully implemented, single individuals would save close to $300 in taxes every year and families, including those led by a single parent, would save nearly $600. Over 1 million more Canadians would no longer pay a federal income tax at all. This is in addition to the federal government’s commitment to lowering cell phone bills by 25 per cent.
Monsef detailed the federal government’s plan to connect all Canadians with access to affordable, high-speed Internet no matter where they live, and to improve mobile cellular access along highways and major roads. The strategy includes historic new investments that are mobilizing up to $6 billion toward universal connectivity. They include a top-up to the Connect to Innovate Program, a new Universal Broadband Fund, and investments from the Canada Infrastructure Bank.
“Rural residents want the same things most Canadians want: a good job, the ability to raise a family, access to health care, and the ability to look forward to a comfortable retirement,” concluded Monsef. “I am excited to work with our local leaders to ensure rural Canadians have that peace of mind and that their communities continue to be safe, healthy and economically prosperous places.”
- Through the Investing in Canada infrastructure plan, the Government of Canada is investing more than $180 billion over 12 years in public transit projects, green infrastructure, social infrastructure, trade and transportation routes, and Canada’s rural and northern communities.
- $2 billion of this funding is supporting infrastructure projects that meet the unique needs of rural and northern communities like facilities to support food security, local access roads and enhanced broadband connectivity.
- On June 27, 2019, the Government of Canada launched two new strategies: Canada’s Connectivity Strategy, which commits to connect all Canadians to high-speed internet, and Canada’s first Rural Economic Development Strategy, which will spur economic growth and create good, middle class jobs for rural Canadians across the country.
- In Budget 2019 the Government of Canada created a top-up to the gas-tax fund of $2.2 billion, which will flow directly to municipal governments across the country to get their infrastructure priorities underway.