Source: Government of Northwest Territories
Thank you to the Yellowknives Dene First Nations Drummers for that prayer song and to Chief Sangris and Michelle Kolla for their remarks. It is a pleasure to be here today with Yukon Deputy Premier Ranj Pillar and Yellowknife Mayor, Mark Heyck.
As Premier of the Northwest Territories, it is my pleasure to welcome you to the Northwest Territories and to the Arctic Indigenous Investment Conference here in Yellowknife, the diamond capital of North America.
This year’s theme “Indigenous Lead Infrastructure: Investing in Resource Corridors” could well be a motto that we adopt here in the Northwest Territories! It reflects how we have been doing business and finding success, and how we see a big part of our territory’s future economic growth being achieved.
In the Northwest Territories we recognize that strong leadership and partnerships between our governments at all levels is key to our success.
We see economic partnerships with Indigenous governments and businesses and with industry as being the foundation for how we can deliver on transformational infrastructure projects that will set the stage for the next wave of economic growth and development in our territory.
Projects like the Taltson Hydro Expansion and the Slave Geological Province road are prime examples of where Indigenous Government participation will help deliver economic prosperity and opportunity to all of our residents.
These infrastructure projects are part of our energy and transportation corridors. They have the ability to offer affordable, sustainable energy to our residents and green the mining sector, and open up a rich natural resource area of our land to responsible development that will bring long lasting benefits to our people.
Economic diversification, responsible resource development, Indigenous partnerships; these might sound like buzz words but I want to assure you that in the Northwest Territories, and across the North, they are the way we do business and are the backbone of our success stories and of our future.
When the Government of the Northwest Territories gained control over natural resources from the federal government in 2014, we made a point of offering up to 25 percent of our resource revenues to NWT Indigenous governments. This is one of the richest offers of its kind in Canada and is proof of our commitment to ensuring that all residents share in the economic benefits of our land, and to supporting Indigenous self-determination by providing a measure of economic independence.
That is why I have always been, and will continue to be, a staunch supporter for responsible resource development.
When I mentioned that resource development is at the heart of our economic success, I said this with the backing of the Pan-Territorial Vision for Sustainable Development which was endorsed just under a year ago by all three northern Premiers.
Our sustainable development vision recognizes that responsible, sustainable resource development and job creation is the cornerstone of all three territorial economies. It also states that Indigenous ownership, investment and participation in the resource industry are key to the success of this sector.
And finally, I want to stress a point that many of you in the room already know; that developing energy and transportation corridors across the North will require investment and working together, but that they are the key to providing Northerners with the economic prosperity that that they deserve.
We know that this prosperity can be achieved while respecting and sustaining our land, and we have done the work to ensure that we have plans in place to help guide us.
What is needed now is dialogue between all levels of government, stakeholders, industry, and researchers so that we can make the real and lasting connections that result in action, investment and infrastructure projects.
I hope that you will take the opportunity offered by the Arctic Indigenous Investment Conference to make those connections. And I hope that many of you, after your time here, will become part of the story of how we build a northern economy that brings jobs and opportunities that Northerners want and deserve. Once again welcome, and all the best at the conference.