Mr. Speaker, I rise today to welcome members of a federally appointed arm’s length panel undertaking a statutory review of the Canada Transportation Act. They are visiting the Northwest Territories this week to gather feedback from Northerners into new federal transportation policy and program development.
The Panel will conduct a comprehensive examination of how the Act operates as it relates to the economic regulation of transportation.
Mr. Speaker, this is a valuable and unique opportunity for Northerners to provide our perspective on how the transportation system can be leveraged to support economic growth with nation-building projects, such as the Mackenzie Valley Highway to Norman Wells, or an all-weather road into the Slave Geological Province or the Tłįchǫ̨ region.
The review is also an opportunity to examine the role of transportation in supporting sustainable economic development, in the Northwest Territories.
Unfortunately, the lack of infrastructure is creating obstacles to exploration and development in remote areas. The challenges are most acute in regions where residents, businesses, and industry depend on air or barge transportation to receive essential goods and services.
Mr. Speaker, officials with the Department of Transportation have been working in partnership with the NWT Chamber of Commerce to coordinate a roundtable discussion in Yellowknife this afternoon with the Review Panel.
The Roundtable involves approximately 35 representatives of the NWT transportation sector such as industry representatives, users, experts, and others who represent a broad range of perspectives and experience on northern transportation.
The discussion will examine how changes to federal policy and programs can help to resolve current and emerging transportation challenges in the NWT.
Mr. Speaker, Review Panel members will be visiting Hay River tomorrow where they will meet with representatives such as NTCL, Coast Guard, and the Great Slave Harbour Authority. These meetings will provide Panel Members with first-hand information on areas of concern that involve the federal government, such as dredging the Port of Hay River and critical sections of the Mackenzie River to accommodate fully loaded tugs and barges, fishing boasts, and the Coast Guard fleet.
Mr. Speaker, the Department of Transportation’s involvement in the federal review of theCanada Transportation Act aligns with the 17th Assembly’s goal of realising a diversified economy for Northerners by making strategic investments in infrastructure.