NORTHERN ONTARIO – Doug Ford has abandoned northern and rural Ontario communities that need broadband connection, said northern NDP MPPs after Ontario’s Financial Accountability Officer found that the Ford government has cut the broadband expansion budget by more than half and has spent less than one per cent on connecting northern and rural Ontario.

The following statement was released by NDP MPPs Judith Monteith-Farrell (Thunder Bay – Atikokan), Sol Mamakwa (Kiiwetinoong), Jamie West (Sudbury), Guy Bourgouin (Mushkegowuk-James Bay), France Gélinas (Nickel Belt), Michael Mantha (Algoma-Manitoulin), John Vanthof (Timiskaming-Cochrane) and Gilles Bisson (Timmins).

“Northern and rural Ontarians who badly need access to broadband, and who were waiting for it after four years of Ford’s promises, are incredibly disappointed. The Ford Conservatives promised they would be different, but just like Del Duca and the Liberals before them, they were all talk and their only real action was to cut the budget to connect northern and rural Ontarians who still have no broadband.

There are many solutions to connect northern and rural families to high speed internet. The only thing that stands in the way today is Doug Ford.

It’s time to connect northern and rural families to broadband. New Democrats have always prioritized northern and rural Ontarians and we’ll get the job done.

Wednesday's FAO report on the Q3 expenditures reveals that the Ford government made an in-year cut to the broadband expansion budget of $207 million (more than half). The FAO’s detailed spreadsheet reveals that the Ford government has so far spent only 0.6 per cent of the remaining budget.