NEWS RELEASE · 18th March 2010
MP Nathan Cullen - Smithers
The federal government’s rapid reversal of its unpopular decision to eliminate Internet access funding for rural Canadians is evidence people won’t tolerate robbery of the public purse, says Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen.
“Mothballing the Community Access Program (CAP) that provides free Internet at libraries and other public sites would definitely have struck a blow to hundreds of people here in the northwest,” said Cullen.
On Tuesday, the government was forced to backtrack on its decision last week to slash its CAP budget to $2-million from $14-million annually and immediately halt financing for 93 per cent of sites. Following a storm of outrage and protest across the country, Industry Minister Tony Clement issued a statement saying financing will continue for all CAP sites.
“Internet access is a necessity in today’s world, both economically and socially,” Cullen noted. “CAP funding makes it possible for rural and low-income Canadians, as well as people who struggle with computer literacy, to use the Internet.”
Cullen termed the attempt to cut CAP funding “incredibly short-sighted and punitive” and further evidence of how out of touch the Harper government is with ordinary Canadians.
CAP has provided free Internet at more than 3,000 locations across Canada since 1994