Federal budget - Little for community newspapers, but promises of 100% internet access by 2030

  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/content/29/3579629/html/bulletinaylmer/en/modules/views-6.x-3.0/views/views.module on line 1113.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_field::query() should be compatible with views_handler::query($group_by = false) in /home/content/29/3579629/html/bulletinaylmer/en/modules/views-6.x-3.0/views/handlers/views_handler_field.inc on line 1147.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_sort::options_validate() should be compatible with views_handler::options_validate($form, &$form_state) in /home/content/29/3579629/html/bulletinaylmer/en/modules/views-6.x-3.0/views/handlers/views_handler_sort.inc on line 165.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_sort::options_submit() should be compatible with views_handler::options_submit($form, &$form_state) in /home/content/29/3579629/html/bulletinaylmer/en/modules/views-6.x-3.0/views/handlers/views_handler_sort.inc on line 165.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_sort::query() should be compatible with views_handler::query($group_by = false) in /home/content/29/3579629/html/bulletinaylmer/en/modules/views-6.x-3.0/views/handlers/views_handler_sort.inc on line 165.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter::options_validate() should be compatible with views_handler::options_validate($form, &$form_state) in /home/content/29/3579629/html/bulletinaylmer/en/modules/views-6.x-3.0/views/handlers/views_handler_filter.inc on line 587.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter::query() should be compatible with views_handler::query($group_by = false) in /home/content/29/3579629/html/bulletinaylmer/en/modules/views-6.x-3.0/views/handlers/views_handler_filter.inc on line 587.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_query::options_submit() should be compatible with views_plugin::options_submit($form, &$form_state) in /home/content/29/3579629/html/bulletinaylmer/en/modules/views-6.x-3.0/views/plugins/views_plugin_query.inc on line 169.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_row::options_validate() should be compatible with views_plugin::options_validate(&$form, &$form_state) in /home/content/29/3579629/html/bulletinaylmer/en/modules/views-6.x-3.0/views/plugins/views_plugin_row.inc on line 136.
  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/content/29/3579629/html/bulletinaylmer/en/modules/views-6.x-3.0/views/views.module on line 1113.
  • strict warning: Declaration of calendar_plugin_display_page::options() should be compatible with views_object::options() in /home/content/29/3579629/html/bulletinaylmer/en/modules/calendar-6.x-2.4/calendar/includes/calendar_plugin_display_page.inc on line 297.
  • strict warning: Declaration of calendar_plugin_display_block::options() should be compatible with views_object::options() in /home/content/29/3579629/html/bulletinaylmer/en/modules/calendar-6.x-2.4/calendar/includes/calendar_plugin_display_block.inc on line 78.
  • strict warning: Declaration of calendar_plugin_display_attachment::options() should be compatible with views_object::options() in /home/content/29/3579629/html/bulletinaylmer/en/modules/calendar-6.x-2.4/calendar/includes/calendar_plugin_display_attachment.inc on line 242.
  • strict warning: Declaration of content_handler_field::element_type() should be compatible with views_handler_field::element_type($none_supported = false, $default_empty = false, $inline = false) in /home/content/29/3579629/html/bulletinaylmer/en/modules/cck-6.x-2.9/cck/includes/views/handlers/content_handler_field.inc on line 229.
  • strict warning: Declaration of date_handler_field_multiple::pre_render() should be compatible with content_handler_field_multiple::pre_render($values) in /home/content/29/3579629/html/bulletinaylmer/en/modules/date-6.x-2.9/date/date/date_handler_field_multiple.inc on line 185.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_pager_none::post_execute() should be compatible with views_plugin_pager::post_execute(&$result) in /home/content/29/3579629/html/bulletinaylmer/en/modules/views-6.x-3.0/views/plugins/views_plugin_pager_none.inc on line 69.
  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/content/29/3579629/html/bulletinaylmer/en/modules/views-6.x-3.0/views/views.module on line 1113.
  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/content/29/3579629/html/bulletinaylmer/en/modules/views-6.x-3.0/views/views.module on line 1113.
Added: Wed, 04/10/2019 - 2:32pm
Printer-friendly version

Allyson Beauregard

The 2019 budget, dubbed “Investing in the Middle Class” was delivered March 19 by Finance Minister Bill Morneau. According to Pontiac MP Will Amos, the budget is filled with great news for his riding and contains “a range of interesting measures to help the middle class, youth, and seniors.”
“Going even bigger” with high-speed internet
Amos is especially proud of increased investment for high-speed internet connectivity; $5 billion over ten years to connect every Canadian to high-speed internet by 2030. Additionally, the Universal Broadband Fund, which will receive $1.7-billion over 13 years, will be created. This fund will focus on extending digital infrastructure in poorly serviced communities and establishing “last-mile” internet connections.
“This is a huge personal victory for me,” said Amos, who has dubbed digital infrastructure improvements his number one priority. Amos used his one private member's motion to table high-speed internet and cellphone connectivity in the House of Commons last fall. His motion, M-208, was debated in late February and will be debated again at the end of April before it's voted on. “The motion helped create the necessary pressure on the government [to do more],” he added.
In 2016, the government announced $500 million over five years for high-speed internet access. Of that, the Pontiac riding received $20 million to connect 4,300 households and small businesses; the MRC Pontiac received $6.7 million. Amos said the Pontiac federal riding can expect to receive over $20 million through the latest announcement.
Supporting farm to fork
The budget also announced the new Food Policy for Canada, with a $134.4 million investment over five years for local agriculture. From this sum, $50 million will go towards local food projects infrastructure, including food banks and farmers’ markets. “We want our markets to continue to grow and attract more people from the city,” said Amos. Also, $25 million will go towards the promotion of Canadian agricultural products.
In order to mitigate the impacts of recent trade deals, $2.15 billion will go toward compensation for Canadian dairy farmers, although the logistics of how it will be
distributed haven't been determined. “The dairy farmers will play a central role in designing the programs. The government is working with them to determine the most useful way to distribute the funds to ensure full and fair compensation,” explained Amos.
Other measures
Starting July 2020, beneficiaries of the Guaranteed Income Supplement will be eligible for a partial exemption on up to $15,000 of annual employment and self-employment income.
“Seniors can now earn more if they want to without experiencing claw backs that were often a disincentive to employment,” said the MP. The government is also increasing funding by $100 million over five years for the New Horizons for Seniors Program.
The government will contribute $5,000 for electric battery or hydrogen fuel cell vehicles with a retail price of less than $45,000 and $130 million over five years for the expansion of the network of recharging and refuelling stations for these vehicles, notably in public parking spots.
Canada Economic Development for Québec Regions will receive close to
$8 million over two years to create a Canadian Experiences Fund to support businesses and organizations seeking to create, improve or expand tourism-related infrastructure. Additionally, the Building Communities Program will have an additional $24 million budget to support festivals, community events, celebrations and commemoration activities.
An additional $2.2 billion will be provided directly to Canadian municipalities through the Federal Gas Tax Fund this year, which, according
to Amos, doubles the amount MRC Pontiac municipalities usually receive (read more page 2).
Community newspapers left out
While the newspaper industry in general has applauded the government's $595 million over five year funding commitment, the most vulnerable Canadian community newspapers serving official language minority communities (OLMC) say the budget doesn't consider or address their needs and realities.
In order to be eligible for the new tax credits, newspapers must be considered a Canadian journalistic organization (OJCA).
“Due to decisions made by the federal government in the past decade, including the virtual disappearance of federal advertising in OLMC media, most of our newspapers have been forced to reduce the number of journalists. To be considered an OJCA, the media must employ at least two journalists at least 26 hours per week. The media will also not be able to access the tax credit if it is already receiving a grant from the Canada Periodical Fund's Aid to Publishers
program. These criteria disqualify many of our newspapers twice rather than once,” said Lily Ryan, interim president of Québec Community Newspapers and Francis Sonier, president of the Press Association Francophone.
While the 2018-2023 Action Plan ($500 million in new spending) did offer community newspapers some support to better serve OLMC,
according to Ryan and Sonier, the measures only partially meet their pressing needs and do not cover the losses incurred over the last ten years. The two will meet with the appropriate ministers to determine long-term
solutions to allow OLMC newspapers to benefit from the new budget measures.