Conservatives cut CAP public web access funding

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Conservatives cut CAP public web access funding

The Conservatives are cutting public access internet funding for libraries and community centres, schools and even hospitals. Organizations that have used the program include employment and youth drop-in centres, English-as-a-second-language programs, libraries, seniors groups, community centres, schools and even hospitals. This low-cost $15 million program is especially important in rural areas and for the poor. Once again the Conservatives show no concern for anyone beyond the 1% and severely limit the opportunities of many people to engage in modern society. At the same time they have ended student summer employment programs, saying that they are not needed because students can use the internet to link into government summer employment websites. Truly Kafkaesque. Quotes from a CBC article are given below.


Eric Stackhouse is chairman of the Nova Scotia Community Access Program Association, which represents the 11 CAP networks in the province. There are 209 sites across Nova Scotia and thousands across the country. He got an email overnight Thursday saying Industry Canada is cutting the funding. The CAP program pays for the web connection, rent in community centres, and for coordinators and technical support.

Stackhouse said people still need access to the internet via public sites. Some can't afford a computer or high-speed internet connection and many need help going online to fill in government forms. Stackhouse said the problem is compounded because many government departments tell people to go online to fill in forms and get more information.

"To send it out on a Thursday night before a long weekend — I don't know what that says." He urged concerned citizens to contact their MPs to lobby to restore the funding.The funding will run out at the end of March (in other words the Cons did not announce it until 5 days after they cut off funding).

Margaux Stastny, director of communications for Industry Canada, said the service was no longer required. "The vast majority of Canadians are now connected to the internet at home, while many more have access through their mobile devices," she said.

According to Statistics Canada's 2010 Internet Use Survey, 79 per cent of Canadian households had an internet connection. It also reported that 97 per cent of households in the top income quartile had internet access at home, but only 54 per cent of households in the lowest quartile had it. The lowest quartile refers to households with incomes of $30,000 or less. The survey found that 93 per cent of households with three or more residents had the internet, but only 58 per cent of one-person households did.