Kyle Seeback, Member of Parliament for Dufferin-Caledon, rose in the House of Commons on Monday, January 27, 2020, to deliver his response to last December’s Speech from the Throne.
"I am going to talk about three things that the Throne Speech either ignores or really gives short shrift to,” Mr. Seeback stated in the House of Commons shortly after he began his response. “These three things are infrastructure, rural broadband, and agriculture.”
The Speech from the Throne symbolizes the opening of the first session of a new parliament and is intended to provide an outline of the government’s plans and priorities in the upcoming parliamentary session. It was delivered by Her Excellency, the Right Honourable Julie Payette, Governor General of Canada, on December 05, 2019. Parliament recessed shortly after the Speech from the Throne was delivered and resumed sitting on January 27, 2020.
“In the riding of Dufferin-Caledon, there are critical infrastructure deficits for small municipalities,” said Mr. Seeback. “I held a town hall meeting in Shelburne, another small municipality in my riding, last week. In Shelburne, people are talking about the urgent need for investments in bridges and roads in their communities.” He went on to state, “At my town hall meeting, the frustration and the anger from small-town Canada and rural Canada is palpable. Those people are not being heard by the government, they are not mentioned in the Throne Speech and they know they are not a priority.”
During his address to the House, Mr. Seeback cited the example of Orangeville and its efforts to purchase new buses to expand bus routes in the town. The project, estimated at $2.1 million, received a commitment from the province of $697,000, its one-third share of the costs, last August. However, the federal government has yet to sign off and there was no reference to rural or small-town public transit in the Speech from the Throne.
A commitment from the current federal government to invest in rural broadband was also absent from last December’s Throne Speech. Mr. Seeback highlighted the lack of broadband coverage across his riding of Dufferin-Caledon and the negative impact it continues to have on his constituents; from farmers who are required to travel into town to download software upgrades for their machinery and equipment, to students unable to complete their homework, to small businesses who rely on connectivity to carry out their business activities.
After summarizing these concerns, as well as the concerns of farmers in his riding, he concluded his response, “I have to say that I will be voting against this Throne Speech, as there is absolutely nothing in it for the residents of my riding and for residents across this country in small towns and rural communities.”