Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk Highway

Mar 13 2013

Dave Ramsay - Official PortraitMr. Speaker, I’m pleased to recognize that the Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk Highway Project reached another milestone earlier this week when the Prime Minister confirmed that Canada will contribute $200 million to the construction.

Constructing the northernmost segment of the Mackenzie Valley Highway to Tuktoyaktuk requires a federal and territorial partnership strengthened by a common vision. Monday’s commitment confirms that Canada views the all-weather highway to the Arctic coast as a vital component in our long-term plans to develop our economy. The commitment also highlights Canada’s confidence in the NWT as a significant contributor to the future economic prosperity and security of Northerners and all Canadians.

It’s important to note that Canada’s decision to increase funding to this nationally significant project comes at a time of continued fiscal restraint anticipated in the next federal budget.

Mr. Speaker, the issuance in January of the Environmental Impact Review Board’s Panel report was a significant step toward bringing together this important infrastructure venture. The Panel’s report recommends the project move forward, subject to conditions. The GNWT has responded to the Panel’s 51 recommendations in a submission to Canada seeking formal project approval. We anticipate a response from the federal Minister of the Environment shortly, with recommendations that reflect the GNWT’s role as a responsible government.

The Prime Minister’s confirmation of funding support provides another significant piece of the tapestry we must create as we move forward with this construction project. The Department of Transportation plans to begin this project by upgrading the access road from Tuktoyaktuk to Gravel Source 177 and conducting additional geotechnical work. Much work also remains to obtain regulatory permits, finalize the highway design, and determine an approach to procurement.

Constructing the first all-weather highway to the Arctic Ocean will produce substantial benefits at the national, regional, and local levels.  It is the foundation for economic development enabling natural resource exploration and while reinforcing Canadian sovereignty objectives. We fully anticipate receiving returns by way of regional development, training, jobs, and greater economic prosperity through more cost-effective access to communities and resource development opportunities in the Northwest Territories.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.