August 29, 2019
WINNIPEG - Manitoba Liberal Leader Dougald Lamont announced today his party’s plan for connecting the North by ensuring all Northern Manitoba communities have access to High Speed Internet and cell phone coverage within three years. Manitoba Liberals will invest in upgrading Northern infrastructure to create jobs and make life more affordable for Northerners.
“The North has been a huge source of energy and resources for all Manitoba, but while the benefits flow south, people in the north face steep costs,” said Lamont. “Northern Manitoba and its people have tremendous potential. We must ensure that Northerners share in the benefits from their land.”
Lamont said it is appalling that Flin Flon still does not have access to High Speed Internet and that cell service is not only bad — it has gotten worse over the years.
This lack of connectivity seriously harms the ability for these communities to grow and thrive as consecutive PC and NDP governments have abandoned the North. When the Churchill rail line was washed out by floods, the PC government refused to fix it.
The Manitoba Liberal Plan to Connect the north involves:
- Ensuring all Northern Communities have access to High Speed Internet and Cell Phone coverage within 3 years
- Ensuring that roads for communities are built and maintained with a focus on trade routes that can spur economic growth by lowering costs for families and businesses alike
- Ensuring partnership with local leadership from northern communities and First Nations
Lamont said it is important for all Manitobans to recognize the critical importance of the North because while southern Manitobans have benefited from resource and Hydro projects, Northerners have often paid a steep price for the impact on their communities.
Manitoba Liberals also redoubled their commitment to work in partnership with municipalities and Indigenous communities - whether First Nations, Métis, Inuit, or non-status. The Pallister government, like many before, has not only neglected Indigenous communities, but gone out of their way to pick fights with them.
“In our commitment to reconciliation, we need to move beyond just consulting to working in a true partnership with Indigenous communities,” said Lamont. “We need to ensure that Indigenous Manitobans always have a seat at the table and that all government policy development uses a cultural analysis lens led by Indigenous peoples.”
Manitoba Liberals will work with Manitoba Hydro to connect communities to Hydro’s high-speed fibre optic network and invest $20 million over 4 years into upgrading the system to connect more communities.
In previous announcements, the Manitoba Liberals committed to other projects that will support the North: a ten-year, $1.6-billion a year infrastructure plan — including investments in roads and ice roads, as well as a Manitoba Business Development Bank that would support Manitoba entrepreneurs and businesses anywhere in the province.