OPINION: High-speed internet a top priority
Progressive Conservatives on Prince Edward Island have a lot to be excited about. The five candidates vying for the leadership of the PC Party all offer a very different vision for the party and for the type of government they will lead. This is all good and healthy for the democratic process.
Over the last two months as I have travelled all across the province, I have listened to Islanders from every walk of life as they have shared their stories, their hopes, and their concerns with me. Out of those conversations, one theme has emerged with resounding clarity: change.
The desire for change after over 11 years of Liberal government is real. All governments get tired and old and their practices sloppy. But one of the most disturbing aspects of a government that has been in power too long are the accumulated missteps and cover-ups.
The Wade MacLauchlan Liberals have reached that tipping point. Islanders recognize this and want something new. They want their voices heard again, and they want a Premier who understands that people come first. All politicians talk about change, and yes it can become a tired campaign cliché. Nevertheless, Islanders do want change, and one key way that we can improve the life of islanders in a lasting and meaningful way is through the implementation of accessible high-speed internet across the island. Finally delivering on this promise will not only improve the lives of individual islanders, but it will set all of us on a new path to growth and sustainability.
For a progressive society and modern economy, high-speed internet is not just a convenience, but an absolute requirement. Fast and reliable internet in small communities makes those communities more appealing to small businesses, doctors, educators, immigrants, and remote workers. Like electricity before it, high-speed internet is one of the primary enabling factors for social sustainability and economic growth. All across our country and indeed around the world, more and more people are telecommuting to work. Recently the Government of Canada launched an initiative to encourage more workers to "commute" to work online. Such initiatives present a unique and incredibly timely opportunity for Prince Edward Island.
How often in the past have we heard visitors and friends tell us that they would love to move to Prince Edward Island, if only they only could find work? But now, with teleworking becoming more and more of a reality, the idea of moving here need no longer be a pipe dream. Fast, accessible, and reliable internet across the Island will mean that you can live in, support, and sustain rural communities, while working in places like Toronto, Vancouver, and beyond.
In the past, most reliable public-sector jobs have been concentrated in Charlottetown and Summerside but telecommuting across reliable internet will level the playing field and open those jobs up to islanders in outlying communities. The provision of high-speed internet will mean that you can live, work, and thrive in the communities you call home. And it will mean that the schools in those communities have access to the best educational tools and resources the world has to offer.
Far more than the ability to stream your favourite movie or video game, high-speed internet is a catalyst and enabler for increased and diverse economic activity, better educational opportunities and resources, and more accessible and responsive health-care services.
In 2019, accessible high-speed internet is a requirement for improving the lives of Islanders. The linkages between education. With over thirty years of leadership experience in multiple roles, I have a tested ability to bring teams together to find and implement solutions to problems just like this.
I am committing to striking a public/private task force on this issue within the first 100 days of assuming government. During my government's mandate, we will make the implementation of high-speed internet a top priority.
The opportunities for growth and for the sustainability of our Island way of life must not be ignored any longer. High-speed internet from tip to tip will help to unleash the island's almost limitless potential and to guarantee the island the future it so richly deserves.
Allan Dale is a candidate for the leadership of the Progressive Conservative Party of Prince Edward Island.