OTTAWA, ON (May 4, 2018) - Nunavut Premier Paul Quassa, Northwest Territories Premier Robert McLeod and Yukon Premier Sandy Silver met in Ottawa this week to discuss territorial perspectives and common approaches on climate change, carbon pricing, infrastructure funding, and federal policy development in the north.
The three premiers had a positive meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and productive discussions with Finance Minister Bill Morneau, Environment Minister Catherine McKenna, Infrastructure Minister Amarjeet Sohi, and Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett.
Premiers acknowledge that the federal government is making significant new investments in infrastructure in the 2018 budget. They stressed the importance of continuing investment and innovation with the federal government and other partners to close gaps in community, energy, communications and transportation infrastructure between the territories and the rest of Canada. Closing these gaps will help decrease the cost of living for Northerners and allow for sustainable and diversified economic development, including resource development. Consideration for flexible funding arrangements was also emphasized during these meetings.
The federal commitment to develop a Northern Adaptation Strategy, as outlined in the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change, was discussed as an important means of ensuring all three territories have the capacity to adjust to a changing climate. This is particularly important in the north where climate change is rapidly taking place.
Premiers discussed carbon pricing and acknowledged the different approaches to implementation across the north. The three territories and the federal government are working together to ensure the impact of carbon pricing will not disproportionately affect territorial residents by increasing the already high cost of living and doing business.
Arctic Policy Framework
Premiers reiterated the importance of developing a policy framework for the north that focuses on the needs and aspirations of northerners. This includes the continuing negotiation and implementation of devolution agreements. Key to the Arctic Policy Framework will be the commitment by Canada to make strategic investments in the territories that meet each jurisdiction’s specific needs and contribute to sustainable northern economies, as outlined in the Pan-Territorial Vision for Sustainable Development released by northern premiers in 2017.
Premiers will continue to advance these positions, and will review progress at the next Northern Premiers’ Forum meetings slated to take place in Nunavut.
“These meetings allow us share our unique challenges, learn about common approaches, and leverage our strengths as a northern region to ensure our distinct needs and perspectives are heard and understood at the national level,” said Premier Quassa, who hosted the meetings in Ottawa. “Significant investments are required in the north in order to be brought on par with the rest of Canada. We are committed to continue working together as premiers to advocate for the best interests of the north and all northerners.”
“There are still many significant challenges facing the North that require Canada’s attention and investment. We are pleased to see their willingness to work with us to address our needs and look forward to continued collaboration and support,” said Premier McLeod.
“I’m happy to have joined my fellow northern premiers in Ottawa. We have many shared concerns and it is valuable to speak to federal ministers with a united voice. We continue to experience unique situations in the territories, and approaching these northern issues together assists in elevating our perspective on a national level. We have had productive meetings and I thank my fellow northern premiers for this opportunity,” said Premier Silver.
Office of Premier Paul Quassa
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