Creating Our Future Together
Premier Floyd K. Roland tabled the Creating Our Future Together report today.
Mr. Speaker, this Assembly has a vision of strong individuals, families and communities sharing the benefits and responsibilities of a unified, environmentally sustainable and prosperous Northwest Territories. We called our plan Northerners Working Together because we know that each of us has a part to play in helping us achieve that vision. Last year, with the support of Members, I engaged with residents all across the Territory to hear about their priorities and ideas for coming together to create a better future for all Northerners. I would like to take this opportunity to update Members on what I heard.
At the March 2010 meeting of the Northern Leaders’ Forum, it was agreed that each member of the Northern Leaders’ Forum would take the summer to engage their respective constituents and ask them about the kind of future they would like to see for the Northwest Territories. Following these engagement processes, members of the Northern Leaders’ Forum were to meet again to share their findings and determine whether any common themes emerged which could form the foundation for a vision for the Northwest Territories.
As Members are aware, my contribution to the work of the Northern Leaders’ Forum was to launch a territory-wide engagement process called ‘Creating Our Future Together’. I spent the summer months reaching out to NWT residents to seek their views on what our Territory should look like in 20 to 30 years.
In addition, we partnered with NorthwesTel and the NWT Teachers’ Association to sponsor an essay contest encouraging high school students to articulate their priorities for the future. When we come back as an Assembly in May, it is my intent to introduce the winner of this contest and have them act as Premier for a day.
Our young people are an impressive group. They spoke with honesty and passion. It’s clear they care about the kind of future they are going to inherit – and they expect to play a part in shaping it.
I am pleased that many residents accepted the invitation to get engaged and involved. The residents I met with or heard from provided thoughtful input and innovative ideas about the kind of future they wish to see for the NWT. Later today, at the appropriate time, I will table a report and appendix summarizing this input.
One of the most encouraging – but not necessarily surprising – things that emerged is the fact that people generally share the same concerns and priorities and that these were many of the same priorities we identified as an Assembly.
Probably the most frequent point raised by residents – and youth in particular – is the need to strengthen educational opportunities for NWT residents and to better prepare youth for future success.
Residents also made it clear that they want a sustainable economy. Residents are united in wanting an economy that creates jobs and prosperity for our people today, but they expect it to yield social and economic benefits for the long term.
Closely linked to this theme, people are also committed to protecting the land and the environment. Residents value the land and the northern way of life. They want to see future development successfully balanced with conservation. Many also talked about the need for the NWT to become more energy efficient and less dependent on fossils fuels.
A final theme that emerged from my engagement with residents involves governance. While there was a healthy diversity of views expressed about what needs to change, almost everyone we heard from wants to see devolution. They believe NWT residents should make decisions that affect our residents.
Mr. Speaker, it has truly been an honour to listen to people from all walks of life share their views on a common future for all of us. I believe from what I have heard to date there is much common ground on which we can build our Territory.
All of the submissions by individuals and organizations, roundtable participants and the input from youth have been summarized in the report that I will be tabling later today.
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to advise that I had the opportunity to present the results of the ‘Creating Our Future Together’ initiative to the members of the Northern Leaders’ Forum at our January 24 meeting. The Inuvialuit Regional Corporation, the Northwest Territory Metis Nation and the Northwest Territories Association of Communities also tabled and presented the summary reports of their respective engagement processes. At our meeting, members of the Northern Leaders’ Forum agreed to continue the work of developing a vision. We will be meeting again in the near future, and agreed to hold a conference in the spring to finalize the vision and a roadmap for the NWT.
There is no better, or more crucial, time for northern governments and the people of the NWT to continue the discussion of developing a vision for our future. For too long, decisions about our future have been made elsewhere. We need to seize the future. We cannot take a backseat any longer.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
For more information:
- Creating Our Future Together Website
- Creating Our Future Together Summary Reports
For more information, contact:
Office of the Premier/Cabinet
Government of the Northwest Territories
Phone: (867) 669-2302