Mr. Speaker, if memory serves, the question that I am raising today dates back to September 21 or 22. At that time, the Quebec election was coming up.
At the end of August, the Government of Quebec announced that it would invest in two cell tower projects. At the time, the Government of Quebec was getting fed up with the federal government because it was constantly changing its mind about the cellphone issue. As a result, Quebec decided to pay for the federal government's share of the cell tower projects itself.
I have been asking the government for over a year to come up with a plan for cellphone coverage. Unfortunately, every time I ask a question about the cellphone networks in rural and remote areas like mine, the government responds by talking about the Internet. Sometimes, it goes as far as to say that a plan is coming, but still nothing has been done. The next election is drawing ever closer and I am getting frantic because I do not know whether anything will end up happening.
It is important to understand that cellular service is crucial for the safety of people who live in remote regions. In many places, there are extremely busy roads and main highways linking the biggest towns in rural regions that still have huge areas with no cell service. This is having a serious economic impact and adverse effects on people's safety. Everyone understands the impact on safety. It is absolutely inconceivable in this day and age that someone would be unable to call 911 in the event of a traffic accident or specific problem.
On top of that, this has serious economic repercussions. Imagine having to go to a meeting and, after driving for 30 minutes, you learn that the meeting has been cancelled. That means wasting one full hour of your time driving to a meeting that never takes place. It is not only the time involved, but also all the travel costs, including the mileage, the wear and tear on the vehicle, and so on. In terms of efficiency, this is having a significant impact on businesses, particularly on workers who travel by car. No matter how many questions we ask, the government still does not have a plan.
I want to know why it is that every time I ask a question about cell service, I get an answer about the Internet. Why is the government leaving it up to provincial governments to invest in these projects? Why is it doing absolutely nothing? The government is completely washing its hands of the issue.
Lots of people ask me why their cellphone gets a signal when they are travelling all over Africa, and it costs a lot less, but when they are in Canada, a G7 country, they do not have a cellular network that works even on some main roads. Why is the cellular network more reliable in Africa than in a country like Canada, a G7 country?