Hon. Diane Bellemare: Welcome, minister.
Your mandate is to work with the provinces and territories to generate rural economic development projects.
Would you please tell us about some successful examples of collaboration with the provinces and territories in areas other than Internet access and transportation?
Hon. Gudie Hutchings, P.C., M.P., Minister of Rural Economic Development: That is a wonderful question. You probably know that we have various regional development associations — agencies across the country. Each of those six ministers has their own specific area. You have me, who is coast to coast to coast in rural economic development; you have Minister Boissonnault coast to coast to coast in tourism; and you have Minister Ng coast to coast to coast with small business and export. We get together every two weeks. We chat about what we need to do, how we can get out on the ground, how we make sure that our programs are being heard by all.
My department now has canada.ca/rural, where we’re putting all the information about funding. You go there and find information on high-speed internet. You can find information if you’re looking for funding for small communities, if you’re a not-for-profit or if you’re an Indigenous group. We’re putting all the funding in one place to make it easier for people.
I can tell you that the regional development associations are doing great work. They each have a component that focuses on rural areas in addition to my team, the Centre for Rural Economic Development team. Those people on the ground work with the regional development associations daily, so they all coordinate together. If we’re going to be successful in growing rural Canadian communities and rural Canada, we have to break down the silos and all work together, which is what we’re doing now. Thank you for the question.