Bob McLeod – Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk Highway Groundbreaking Ceremony

Jan 8 2014

InuvikToTukThis is an important day for the Western Arctic, for the Northwest Territories, and for Canada.

The Government of the Northwest Territories has a vision of a strong, prosperous territory that provides opportunities to all regions and communities and contributes to a thriving national economy. We share this vision with the Government of Canada and support its priorities for promoting responsible development in the North and creating sustainable Arctic communities. I want to thank the Prime Minister for continuing to demonstrate his personal support for the North. It is due to his leadership and the power of partnership that unites our governments that has led to success on a number of critical initiatives like Devolution and the Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk Highway.

I have said many times before – and I know that the Prime Minister agrees – that the North is Canada’s future. We have a wealth of natural resources here in the Northwest Territories that could create prosperity and economic opportunities for our residents and all Canadians. Turning that potential into prosperity by supporting the responsible development of those resources is a priority for my government that we share with the Government of Canada.

The Government of the Northwest Territories is taking action to ensure this territory is positioned to take full advantage of its potential. The devolution of public lands and resources in April of this year will be a major step towards a brighter future for the people of this territory. It will give our government the tools and authority it needs to manage the economic future of the territory and ensure that our residents enjoy the benefits of sustainable development here.

To prepare for that future, we have developed a number of long-term plans that will guide our actions in important sectors. We have a ten-year plan for investing in the transportation infrastructure we need to support development. We have an economic opportunities strategy and a mineral development strategy that will help us grow and diversify the Northwest Territories economy. We have an energy plan and a power system plan that will help us make best use of our energy resources and better support resource and economic development.

We do not expect to implement those plans on our own. Partnership and cooperation are a way of life in the North and will be vital to our future plans to create a strong, prosperous Northwest Territories. All of us who have a stake in the future of this territory, including Aboriginal governments and the Government of Canada, will need to work together to fulfill the promise of the North. We have already achieved much together; I look forward to the great things our continued partnership will bring for the future.

The Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk Highway is an investment in the future of this territory and this country. It is a nation-building project that will see Canada connected by road from sea to sea to sea for the first time ever. As a first step towards the completion of the Mackenzie Valley Highway, it will help set the stage for the responsible development of the rich store of natural resources in the Northwest Territories, including the abundant oil and gas of the Beaufort and Mackenzie Delta and the potentially world-class shale oil reserves in the Sahtu. It will lower transportation costs, assisting our residents with the cost of living and supporting business and industry. By making further exploration and development more economical, our government, along with the Government of Canada and Aboriginal governments, will help to ensure that the people of this region and the whole territory share in the benefits of a strong economy for generations to come.

Our resources have been stranded for too long. Transportation routes in all forms and all directions are key to getting our resources to market. We cannot wait to put our critical northern infrastructure in place. We need more roads to resources. To all of our resources.

We are not going to waste time. We will push forward to create prosperity for our territory. We are a serious partner. I am very proud to be here today. We are breaking ground in more ways than one. We are paving the way to a bright future with opportunities for all Canadians.

Thank you for your time today.