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It’s a pleasure to be here this evening at the Dominion Diamond Blue Collar Gala to celebrate trades professionals in our territory and support Skills Canada NWT.
I am also pleased that I have the opportunity to speak to you this evening on behalf of the Premier of Northwest Territories, Caroline Cochrane.
As you’ve all heard many times tonight, this year’s theme for the gala is ‘Celebrating Women in Trades', which I think is incredibly timing and appropriate, given the results of our recent territorial election.
With a record number of women elected, we’re now an example to the rest of Canada, as we have the highest proportion of women legislators in our country – including a majority of women represented on Cabinet.
I hope one of the things we’ve succeeded to do with the results of the election and through discussions that take place at events like the one – is to encourage not just young women and girls, but any person who wants to do something that they worry may be out of the norm - to not give up.
Trades such as carpentry, welding and electrical can sometimes be viewed as an out of the norm vocation for women, but what we’ve heard tonight is that it can be done and is being done.
It’s been great to hear the success stories about women pursing trades across the NWT and learning about some of the initiatives and support systems in place for people ready to learn.
As with the previous government, the 19th Legislative Assembly believes that education is a key element to success for the next generation. By looking at ways to expand opportunities for post-secondary education and trades-oriented learning, we can ensure we have a healthy northern society and strong economy for generations to come. This is why building a Polytechnic University is on the list of priorities released by our government last week.
This is an exciting time for our territory and residents. I want to applaud Skills Canada NWT for their efforts throughout the year to support trades and technology and being an encouragement and resource for our youth.
I’d also like to take a moment to congratulate the apprentices and alumni who will be recognized later tonight. You are role models for your peers and should be proud of your achievements.
Thank you again on behalf of Premier Cochrane for your invitation to speak tonight. The GNWT supports the work being done by Skills Canada NWT and I’m sure we’ll continue to see the relationship prosper for years to come.
Enjoy the rest of your evening.