Our Future: Investment and Innovation

I believe we need to revitalize our mineral resource sector, support growth among northern owned small and medium sized enterprise and continue to seek opportunities to help diversify our economy – we must inspire investment and innovation alongside environmental stewardship. I understand the need to invigorate mineral resource exploration, grow northern businesses and inspire investor confidence based on my experience working with a variety of industries and for organizations and clients across the NWT as a private sector lawyer and as a volunteer in leadership roles at the NWT Chamber of Commerce.

Early in 2017, I joined the Board of Directors for the NWT Chamber of Commerce. Working with my Chamber colleagues to stabilize the organization and to grow its value for the business community, my contribution helped improve the Chamber’s finances, overhaul outdated bylaws and reinvigorate the advocacy that our membership expects. During my time on the Board, I saw first hand the innovation and drive of the NWT’s business sector and its value to our communities. I have also heard the challenges our businesses and families face due to high operating costs and lagging investor confidence.

I was involved in many recent Chamber initiatives including:

  • Advocacy for a pan-territorial infrastructure strategy;
  • Support for infrastructure investments in the slave geologic province; and
  • Engaging the CRTC about price caps on telecommunications services in the NWT.

On a more personal level, like so many NWT families, my family is directly impacted by the health of the mineral resources sector with my spouse being employed in one of the diamond mines north of Yellowknife. Our family has depended on this sector and as the diamond mines’ lives come to an end, we need to see new opportunities materialize.

The North is experiencing the impacts of a changing climate. I believe that given our place as an Arctic region we should be leaders in responding to this worldwide challenge. I believe that the NWT can and should be a leader in more sustainable resource industry technologies, in climate change knowledge including Traditional Knowledge, and in land reclamation. The reduction of our reliance on diesel and the need to reduce the associated costs of transporting diesel are a priority for our territory.

Key areas for action and investment: 

  • Close our infrastructure gaps.
    • Provide cleaner, less costly energy through Territory-wide projects: whether we move forward with large-scale hydro or connecting into the Canadian grid, we need to chose a path and move forward to implementation. I prioritize energy because it is a key driver of high costs to both businesses and residents and the use of diesel is a major impact on our carbon output, one that also detracts from corporate social licence. I also support community-level hydro, wind, solar and bio-mass energy generation.
    • Improve internet connectivity: close the fibre loop and encourage satellite technology.
    • Leverage partnerships with other governments and local organizations to close gaps in housing infrastructure across the spectrum of needs from affordable to transitional to market entry. Reduce the layers of GNWT approvals needed for land access and community planning within a municipal boundary to support responsive local development.

  • Support and Enable local business.
    • Establish responsive procurement policies that support northern managed and owned businesses.
    • Encourage entrepreneurship with training opportunities and supporting shared spaces for innovation and start-up manufacturing.
    • Create opportunities for partnerships and collaboration between local businesses to increase their competitiveness on larger scale projects. 
  • Support more certainty in land access and encourage timely land use planning. One important way to move this goal forward is by finalizing Indigenous land and self-government agreements.
    • Acknowledge the nation-to-nation relationship owed to Indigenous governments. Settle land and self government claims and respect and fulfill the existing land and self government agreements with an acceptance of the power sharing that will result. Agreements are the basis for building partnerships and prosperity throughout the NWT for all our residents.
    • Work with Indigenous governments and community development corporations to support training, education and equity partnerships in economic development projects.

  • Make our regulatory system a model for Canada.
    • Prioritize regulatory systems that are responsive and streamlined. Being “streamlined” means that small scale projects should comply with rules relevant to the scale of what is being proposed. Being “responsive” could mean that we commit to remove old rules before instituting new ones. Overall, I believe we should continue to work with Federal partners towards getting as close as possible to a single point of contact to support proponents through any regulatory process.

 

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