A re-elected Liberal Government will implement a series of measures to benefit New Brunswick’s rural economy, including completing its plan to boost internet speeds in rural areas.
Gallant specified that a re-elected Liberal Government will improve access to economic opportunity by completing its plan to expand broadband at a level of up to 100 Mbps for downloads and 10 Mbps for uploads throughout the vast majority of rural New Brunswick by 2023. This commitment to increase internet speeds in rural New Brunswick stems from a partnership that was established between the government and Xplornet, which has selected New Brunswick as the site for its latest 5G-ready technology. This positions the province to be the first in Canada to have rural access to this technology. The first phase of the project has begun and is expected to be completed by the end of 2019.
“Better broadband internet in rural parts of our province will enhance the quality of life and the economy of rural New Brunswick,” Gallant added.
Gallant also made a number of other commitments to help support a fairer economy and has committed to investments that will benefit rural New Brunswickers:
- The creation of a fund of $10 million per year to invest in community arenas and community centres over the next four years;
- A commitment to keep all hospitals open in rural New Brunswick;
- The setting up of a dedicated fund of $50 million over 10 years within the capital budget to invest in improvements for rural hospitals;
- The use of vacant spaces in rural New Brunswick hospitals to offer additional services to people from the region and reduce crowding and wait times elsewhere in the system;
- The implementation of an aggressive strategy to recruit more healthcare professionals to New Brunswick by working to actively recruit new doctors and develop better recruitment incentives to attract doctors to the province, particularly in rural areas;
- The development of a provincial transportation strategy that ensures rural New Brunswickers have reliable access to services, all the while ensuring better interconnectivity between the province’s three largest metro areas; and
- The renewal of the Economic Development and Innovation Funds for Northern New Brunswick and the Miramichi Region. These funds will allow investments of investments of $20 million per year through 2022 for the former and will permit investments of $5 million per year for the latter through 2022.
Gallant has announced other initiatives earlier in this campaign aimed at creating more jobs and opportunities in New Brunswick, such as doubling investments in the Youth Employment Fund, further enhancing the Free Tuition and Tuition Relief for the Middle Class programs, eliminating interest on provincial student loans, increasing infrastructure investments by $150 million, adding $25 million and two years to the Tourism Growth Strategy, and appointing a minister responsible for small business to oversee initiatives like the reduction of red tape and better access to capital.
The Gallant Liberal Government developed the multi-year New Brunswick Economic Growth Plan, which aims to grow the economy and create job opportunities for New Brunswick citizens. This plan focuses on strategic investments in infrastructure, in the responsible development of New Brunswick’s natural resources, in fostering innovation within traditional industries as well as emerging ones like cybersecurity, in supporting small businesses, in developing a skilled workforce, and in boosting growth sectors like tourism. Over the past four years:
- Government contributed to the creation of 15,000 jobs;
- The economy has grown every year compared to retraction under the Conservatives;
- The unemployment rate has gone from 10.1 percent to 8.3 percent;
- As of 2017, New Brunswick has the largest population in its history; and
- Government surpassed deficit targets due to our economy growing faster than the private sector has predicted, and the auditor general has confirmed that government has a budget surplus in New Brunswick for 2017-18.