Premier Simpson reacts to the 2024 federal budget

Media Statement

Yellowknife — April 17, 2024

Premier R.J. Simpson today issued the following statement:

“Yesterday, the Government of Canada unveiled the 2024 Federal Budget, and my response is one of commitment – commitment to partnership, collaboration, and the residents of the Northwest Territories (NWT). 

“The NWT’s engagement in this year’s federal budget process was different than last year’s because our government was in an election transition. I am, however, happy that I could still express the priorities of the current Legislative Assembly and what I’ve heard from Indigenous governments. Northerners have made it clear that addressing housing challenges, strengthening the foundation of the territory’s economy, enhancing the response to natural disasters, and addressing the territory’s infrastructure gap are of utmost importance to them.

“I was pleased to see Canada's recent announcement of investments in Arctic security. Protecting the Arctic is about making sure even Canada’s most northern and remote communities have robust infrastructure to support emergency response, transportation, and communication needs. Working collaboratively with the federal government to close our infrastructure gaps will help ensure that our efforts to protect the Arctic are holistic, sustainable, and effective.

“As floods, wildfires, and other natural disasters increase, we must prioritize public safety and enhance emergency preparedness. We must also remember that the programs and support we develop for climate change emergencies are culturally appropriate and are informed by and respectful of Indigenous knowledge, traditions, and values. We will continue to advocate for the necessary support to address the reality of climate change emergencies in NWT communities that enhance resiliency and foster trust and collaboration.

“Sufficient, accessible, and affordable housing is essential to building safe communities. In the NWT, we need to work together to achieve this, and we are optimistic about announcements around the Canada Housing Infrastructure Fund. We look forward to working with Indigenous governments and the Government of Canada to improve housing options for NWT residents.

“Mental health is a top priority for the GNWT, and we appreciate the federal government's commitment to youth mental health, particularly through funding directed towards community health organizations. Investing in youth is an investment in the future of our nation—we applaud this proactive approach and hope to see the impacts of this in the NWT.

“Local business development is essential to our economy. I was happy to hear of the recent Natural Resources Canada announcement providing $5 million to Denendeh Development Corporation for DemCo, an Indigenous-led critical mineral exploration and mining opportunity. Only by collaborating with Indigenous governments can we help ensure that the mineral resource sector meets NWT residents' and communities' unique needs. 

“I was also happy to see the investment in Dehchinta of $5.2 M over the next two years.  I also understand there may be further opportunities for investment in NWT Student grants, but we have more to learn in that area.”

“The territorial government appreciates the complexity of setting priorities and making responsible financial decisions geared towards long-term stability and sustainability. As a small jurisdiction within Canada, we are one of many voices in the nation, and we must continue to champion the uniqueness, diversity, and opportunities present in the North.

“The Government of the Northwest Territories will continue to work hard to strengthen our relationship with the federal government alongside Indigenous government and community partners. We look forward to working with Canada to address the unique needs of the NWT to build a safe, prosperous territory for generations to come.”