Wally Schumann: AME Roundup Conference - Network Luncheon Opening Remarks

Delivered on January 23, 2018

I’d like to welcome you all here today for what I hope will be an opportunity for us to have an open discussion about what we can do to better support resource development in the NWT together.

I don’t have to tell the people here that resource development is the engine of the NWT’s economy.

I also don’t have to tell you that we can’t take the health of our industry for granted. There are still challenges to doing business in the Northwest Territories and we need to work together to find solutions.

As the Premier said, resource development is the foundation of our economy, and for the foreseeable future. The Northwest Territories abundant natural resources are not only key to growing and sustaining our economic future but are also essential to lowering the cost of living, as well as developing training, educational and capacity building opportunities.

Our economy depends on the strength of this foundation and the revenues and opportunity it provides.  All of you in this room today play an integral role in building and maintaining that foundation.

We want to develop the North to have the same benefits as Southern Canada, and our partners in this room will benefit from our prosperity and development. A strong Northern economy benefits everyone. The broader development of our resources will contribute to the GDP not just in the NWT, but also in neighbouring jurisdictions, and the rest of Canada.

The partnerships that we will build will help the Northwest Territories move forward to become a far greater part of the Canadian economy, and give our residents the opportunity of economic self-determination.

However, our path to stability and resource prosperity is disadvantaged by a lack of clear plan for federal strategic investments in infrastructure. Nowhere is the economic link between infrastructure and economic prosperity as obvious as it is in the Northwest Territories.

The infrastructure that supports transportation has always been crucial to Northerners, to enable us to grow and develop our economy. Never has the role that transportation plays been more important than it is today, to support our hopes and plans for future growth and prosperity.

Northerners are innovative, self-sufficient and resilient, and want to do their part to contribute to a strong country. One of the ways we hope to continue to work towards this goal is through partnership, a key element of how we operate.

It cannot be overstated the role our partners play in helping to shape the Northwest Territories today, and into the future. There are many people in this room that have connections to the North, who play a part in the successes we achieve on a regular basis, and want to be part of building a strong North for the people who live there.

We need you, our partners, to make yourselves heard in the discussion about the future of the Northwest Territories that we should be having. You all play an important role in advocating for what the North needs, and the stronger our voices are, the better opportunity there is to create a vision for the North that will benefit each and every one of us.

I look forward to speaking with many of you today and throughout the course of the conference. Thank you.