Following the April 11 Before the Bell edition on Infrastructure: A look at ICT hosted by Catherine Clark, Sixth Estate editors asked the Hon. Bernadette Jordan MP South Shore – St. Margaret, Nova Scotia and minister of rural economic development to respond to three of the top unanswered audience questions from the show. Here are her responses.
Q: Are rural communities at risk of being left out of smart cities?
A. The application of connected technologies to improve local outcomes is not just for large cities but a true opportunity for rural communities too.
Canada is encouraging all communities big or small, to explore how best to apply smart city approaches in their local context.
A Smart cities approach can improve the quality of life of residents in communities of all sizes. In fact, the Smart Cities Challenge includes a prize stream specifically geared to small communities, even while those communities can apply to any stream.
We were thrilled to get 63 applications from rural communities, representing nearly half of applications overall .
Q: The federal governments internet infrastructure is known to be archaic and inadequate. Is updating this costly endeavour the first step?
A. The Government of Canada recognizes that students, families and businesses require reliable and high-speed Internet to participate in today’s economy. In Budget 2019, the Government is making an ambitious new commitment to ensure every single household and business in Canada has access to high-speed internet by 2030. By working with provinces, territories and industry, the Government is planning to deliver up to $6 billion in new investments to achieve this target.
Q: Is the Canada infrastructure bank pushing broadband as a priority?
The Canada Infrastructure Bank was established as an innovative new way to help our communities build even more infrastructure by bridging a gap between public and private funding. The investments made by the Bank will align with the Government of Canada’s priorities in areas like broadband.
The Bank is also examining opportunities to attract private-sector investment in high-speed internet infrastructure for unserved and underserved communities. Working to maximize the contribution of private capital, the Bank will seek to invest $1 billion over the next 10 years, and leverage at least $2 billion in additional private-sector investment to increase high-speed Internet access for Canadians.
Watch the full edition of Before the Bell here.
Chasing Answers is a new feature from Sixth Estate that allows guests appearing on the show to respond to unanswered audience questions.