Good afternoon and thank-you, for being here today.
It gives me great pleasure to welcome Minister LeBlanc and his team to the Northwest Territories.
As Minister Leblanc mentioned, the Government of the Northwest Territories and the Government of Canada have a special relationship.
It is important to any jurisdiction to have good partnerships with Canada, and particularly for the NWT, your commitment to work with us to address the issues that affect Northerners are essential and we look forward to many more visits in the future.
Just before this event I was able to sit down with the Minister and the Member of Parliament to discuss some of these issues that are critical for our future as a territory, including co-management of offshore oil and gas resources with the Inuvialuit and continuing the transfer of authorities under the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act.
The Taltson project is another major initiative for this territory and its people. Though today’s funding announcement only marks the first step in fully funding this project, it is still a very important one.
This project is essential for advancing our commitments under the 2030 Energy Strategy and under the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change. It will also help Canada as, signatory to the Paris Agreement, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Minister Leblanc has already touched on the $1.1 million dollars that the Federal government will contribute to this first phase of the project. As a part of this, the GNWT is contributing $120,000 to support technical feasibility work on the Transmission Line components of the project. The funding will also support indigenous participation in advancing the project, including the development of a business framework.
Indigenous participation and partnership in the Taltson Expansion project will ensure NWT Indigenous governments and their people will benefit meaningfully from this development, including new revenues, access to jobs and business opportunities, and help ending their reliance on diesel to power their communities.
In the fall, I met with Indigenous leaders from across the North and we all agreed that large-scale investment in northern energy is an essential part to creating investment and economic opportunities in all sectors.
Today’s announcement demonstrates this ongoing commitment to work with our partners like the Government of Canada to find funding that supports our long-term vision.
This funding supports key components under the GNWT”s Energy Strategy, which was created to guide the development of secure, affordable, and sustainable energy for transportation, heat and electricity, support energy efficiency and conservation, and promote renewable and alternative energy solutions for the NWT.
Expanding the Taltson facility will increase the availability of clean, renewable energy to help the NWT reduce its reliance on diesel, help reduce the cost of living for NWT residents and allow the territory to meet its commitments to address climate change.
As I said, this funding announcement is just step one in realizing the full Taltson project. In addition to today’s announcement, our government has also put in a request with Canada for additional financial support to advance the project in future years.
Working with the Government of the Northwest Territories to make transformative investments in the NWT’s economy and infrastructure, people and environment provides the federal government with an opportunity to achieve its goals of growing the middle class, fostering meaningful reconciliation, protecting the environment and strongly positioning Canada as an Arctic Nation.
Successful partnerships are key to developing a project that meets public expectations. The GNWT is committed to maintaining strong partnerships that will continue to support the Northwest Territories as we move forward to become a far greater part of the Canadian economy, and give our residents the opportunity to achieve economic self-determination.
Canada has an important role to play in helping our territory achieve its priorities and support its development. As Premier of the Northwest Territories I look forward to continuing to work with our federal colleagues and Indigenous partners on projects and investments that will benefit NWT residents and all of Canada.