Mr. Chair, we had the opportunity to travel across Canada in pre-budget consultations. My parliamentary secretary went coast to coast, as did I, to listen to Canadians. We heard from Canadians in rural environments that one of the critical things they needed in order to be part of the modern economy, to provide opportunities so that their children do not necessarily need to go to big cities to get jobs was strong broadband; the opportunity to connect to the Internet in a way that could enable them to be part of the global community.
Therefore, we put in our budget $500 million over the next five years to enhance our broadband capacities across the country. We know that this will help people in rural communities to connect, whether with medical providers, business opportunities, or just generally allowing them to be part of the global community. This means that they have opportunities where they have grown up, to actually find a way to build a business, and to lead their lives in a way that is consistent with the way other Canadians lead their lives.
We believe this is a very important measure. It is part of our strategy to engage rural Canada while we also focus on how we can help in the urban centres.