MP’s motion addressesrural digital infrastructure

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Allyson Beauregard
 
Pontiac MP William Amos submitted a Private Member’s Motion, November 1, asking the House of Commons to recognize the importance of reliable and accessible digital infrastructure to the economic development, health and

Allyson Beauregard
 
Pontiac MP William Amos submitted a Private Member’s Motion, November 1, asking the House of Commons to recognize the importance of reliable and accessible digital infrastructure to the economic development, health and
safety of rural regions, especially in emergencies like the extreme weather events the Pontiac experienced in recent years. 
Amos expects bill M-280 will be tabled and debated in the House of Commons in February 2019. It also asks the government to continue efforts to improve rural connectivity and examine the possibility of enabling further rural digital infrastructure investments. This would be achieved by reviewing the terms and conditions of the federal infrastructure program ‘Investing in Canada’ so
internet and cell phone infrastructure are eligible for funding, offering incentives for private sector investments, and leveraging funds from other orders of government.
Furthermore, Amos asks that two studies be done on rural wireless infrastructure, one by the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security regarding the public safety dimensions of inadequate infrastructure, and the other by the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology.
The latter will focus specifically on the underlying causes of and prospective solutions to the gaps in wireless infra-structure deployment in rural Canada. Amos asks that it also examine the regulatory role of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), and the “fiscal and regulatory approaches to incentivize more significant investments.”
Amos explained that during their terms, MPs generally have one opportunity to bring a motion or bill forward to parliament; the order is determined at random, and his name landed near the bottom of the list. Amos stressed that M-208 demonstrates his commitment to rural priorities; according to him, he has twice as many urban constituents where the issue is not a concern than he does rural. “I’m using my one opportunity as a parliamentarian to focus the attention of parliament
and their committees on the problems rural areas face [in terms of digital connectivity], not just in the Pontiac, but across the country,” he told the Journal.   
There is a tight deadline with the next federal election approaching in October 2019, when any bills or motions that haven’t been approved yet stand the chance of “dying on the table”. However, Amos is optimistic; “I’m confident the motion
will pass before the election,” he concluded.