Check against delivery
Good morning and thank you for having me here today to mark the opening of the 2019 annual meeting of the Canadian Marine Advisory Council. Before I begin, I’d like to thank a few people.
First to Sharie Currie, Regional Director General of Transport Canada, Prairie and Northern Region, for inviting me to welcome the delegates.
I’d also like to thank Transport Canada for hosting this meeting in the Northwest Territories. The GNWT appreciates it, and finds it appropriate that no less than once each year this gathering is held “North of 60”, where so much marine activity - that is vital to northern communities and Canada’s interests, takes place.
And finally, I’d like to thank each of you for taking the trip to be here for this event. I know that November isn’t the warmest of months and many of you have travelled quite a distance to be here, so allow me to give credit and thanks to all of you who have made the journey.
As the new Minister of Infrastructure, I look forward to opportunities for discussion, collaboration and innovation with our partners in the marine industry.
The issues that you will discuss over the next two days have an impact on the daily lives of Canadians – especially northerners – and have national and international significance for marine carriers and mariners.
As an essential lifeline for many residents of the Northwest Territories, the GNWT is invested in and supports the economic growth of the marine infrastructure sector.
Remote Indigenous communities on Great Slave Lake, the Mackenzie River, and the Arctic coastline rely on this method of transportation for the resupply of essential goods, such as fuel, groceries, vehicles and building materials.
This is no easy task in an environment known for extremes.
Northern businesses and industry depend on the fuel, construction materials, provisions and equipment that are delivered each year by ship and tug and barge, just as they also depend on marine carriers to transport the raw materials that they produce to markets outside of Canada’s north.
This fall, we celebrate the one year anniversary of the opening of the NWT Marine Training Centre in Hay River. A centre that introduces Northern residents to seafaring careers and in doing so promotes and cultivates a northern marine workforce for the future. I understand that to-date, 258 students have attended and I’d like to congratulate each of them.
The Marine Training Centre was a vision made possible by Transport Canada, through funding under the Oceans Protection Plan. The facility supports the growth of the NWT marine and fishing sector and increases local marine emergency response by strengthening the capabilities of our residents.
The Government of Canada continues to play an important role in supporting Northern development, and the GNWT appreciates our ongoing partnership and commitment to improve the lives of Northerners.
I would also like to acknowledge Transport Canada again, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, the Canadian Coast Guard and stand-alone Arctic Region for their dedication of resources to northern shipping in an environment that includes some of the most challenging conditions anywhere.
Their hard work to ensure the safety and security of marine operations in Arctic waters plays an important role in the success of the north, and to all Canadians.
And on that note, I wish everyone the best during your discussions over the next couple of days. Our government looks forward to continuing the important work with its partners in the federal government and across Canada to enhance the marine services on which our residents and businesses rely.
Thank you and have a great day.