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Updated: 6 hours 53 min ago

David Ramsay: Responsibly Developing NWT Oil and Gas Resources

Wed, 05/27/2015 - 15:54

Mr. Speaker, resource development has long been the foundation of our territory’s economy.

Our rich mining and oil and gas sectors have generated significant employment, skill development and wealth. Vital economic infrastructure that continues to advance economic growth in other sectors was, in many cases, first built to support resource development.

We now have locally owned and operated airlines, hotels, restaurants, construction firms, telecommunications and logistics companies, and service and supply industries. They are evidence of the capacity of Northern and Aboriginally-owned businesses to leverage investments from resource development and to participate and invest fully in the NWT’s economy as successful business owners, operators and investors.

Our government has never veered from the assertion that the NWT is open for business to socially and environmentally-responsible companies that are willing to invest and work with us to ensure benefits from sustainable development accrue to the Northern economy and our residents; and to respect and protect the lands, water and environment to which our people and their communities are intrinsically tied.

Last week, the National Energy Board and the NWT Geological Survey confirmed what we have known for many years. There is significant oil and gas potential in the Sahtu. Developing this potential will produce jobs and business opportunities for residents in this region and resource royalties to support investments across the NWT.

The announcement validates the GNWT’s ongoing work to complete our territory’s first-ever Call Cycle for Oil and Gas Exploration Rights – and to advance the development of an Oil and Gas Strategy that will serve to guide oil and gas development in our territory well into the future.

Exploration and development has slowed. But we are using this opportunity to define the parameters that NWT residents feel are appropriate to both support and protect their families and communities for the future; and by providing a level of certainty and awareness required by proponents of major projects – we are working to renew interest and confidence in our investment climate.

In part, this is the work that was begun several years ago when our government first started looking at hydraulic fracturing and studying best practices related to it. Following devolution, that work further informed the development of new filing regulations for applications for hydraulic fracturing operations in our territory. We did this together and in recent months we have visited communities to talk about how those regulations would enhance and become part of our regulatory system.

Mr. Speaker, this work and dialogue is not about deciding if hydraulic fracturing will take place in the NWT. In fact, our devolution agreement already puts this decision in the hands of NWT residents every time a project is proposed.

Public boards established under the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act set the terms of water licences and land use permits. The Mackenzie Valley Environmental Impact Review Board conducts environmental assessments and environmental impact reviews in the Mackenzie Valley, while boards established under the land claim screen and assess development proposals in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region. The various boards and regulatory agencies in the NWT hold public hearings and receive submissions from members of the public, as well as technical submissions from the GNWT. These arms-length boards look at each application, consider all of the circumstances, and make well-informed decisions.

It is a system that continues to evolve and has been proven effective in ensuring benefits from the development that has already occurred in our territory flow to NWT residents and businesses. Ours is an integrated and comprehensive process that ensures resource development decisions in the NWT are made in the public interest informed by appropriate scientific and technical information, best practices, traditional knowledge and public input. It is one based in federal and territorial law as well as in obligations established in settled land claims and self-government agreements.

We recognize that our regulatory system, like hydraulic fracturing itself, is detailed and can be a source of uncertainty. We can and will address this with a focus on increasing the knowledge, understanding and awareness of both legislated and industry processes that will be key to the responsible development of our economy into the future.

Hydraulic fracturing technologies have advanced greatly in recent years, as have the public accountabilities demanded from companies who incorporate this development process. Today, we are confident that regions like the Sahtu and the Beaufort Delta can realize the benefits of their oil and gas resources without harm to the environment and our proposed regulations will help make sure of that.

We have heard from the public and the Standing Committee on Economic Development and Infrastructure that more time is needed to review the proposed regulations. We are committed to extending the engagement period until the end of August and beyond, if necessary.

That will give us more time to engage with NWT residents and offer us an opportunity, this summer, to meet and discuss our work in greater detail during the many gatherings and Assemblies that will take place.

Mr. Speaker, the GNWT has taken the first step beyond simply mirroring the federal requirements that we have inherited – and to making the NWT regulatory system our own.

For many years, and through many processes, NWT residents have told us that they place a great deal of value on the land and environment. They have stressed the need for baseline surface and groundwater information, public disclosure, measures to address air quality, and enhanced reporting. The proposed hydraulic fracturing filing regulations address these priorities and make expectations clear.

Our government will take the time it needs to get the right rules in place for managing oil and gas development in our territory. We will continue to listen to Members, the public and Aboriginal governments, as well as business and industry. Once we are satisfied that we have the right solution, we are prepared to move forward with filing regulations that will provide proponents a greater understanding of expectations and requirement before they prepare and submit applications. Should legislative change be necessary to further strengthen regulatory processes in this area, we are prepared to make recommendations for the consideration of the 18th Legislative Assembly.

This important step demonstrates that we are serious about unlocking oil and gas potential in the territory and ensuring that development is conducted in an environmentally responsible and sustainable manner.

It will not result in a sudden and unmanageable increase in exploration and development. But they will set the stage for us to realize a future – that like our past – is founded on the responsible and measured development of our territory’s vast resource wealth.

For the last four years, the 17th Legislative Assembly has proudly held a vision of a strong, prosperous and environmentally sustainable Northwest Territories that all residents, families and communities can benefit from.

Our government has long held that the economy and the environment are linked. That understanding is set out in the Sustainable Development Policy that we put into place in 1990. It is reflected in the Land Use and Sustainability Framework that we released last year and it is enshrined in our regulatory system. We want development, but we want development the right way, the responsible way that creates sustainable prosperity for our children and our grandchildren. But we cannot have prosperity without an economy that provides jobs and economic opportunities for people and revenues to our government to invest in infrastructure and deliver programs and services that support our residents to be healthy, educated and self-sufficient.

This is the work that we have and continue to be committed to realizing today.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Bob McLeod: Sessional Statement

Wed, 05/27/2015 - 15:41

Mr. Speaker, I would like to welcome Members back to the continuation of the Fifth Session of the 17th Legislative Assembly. We have been working together for almost four years now on our vision of strong individuals, families and communities sharing the benefits and responsibilities of a unified, environmentally sustainable and prosperous Northwest Territories.
We have made progress on that vision in our time together, and I thank Members for their support and guidance on the many projects and initiatives we have successfully introduced.

As a government, we are committed to what is best for the people of the entire Northwest Territories. Hearing from Members in this Chamber about the views, values and priorities of the people they represent is one way we make sure our initiatives and decisions reflect what Northerners want and need.

As I have said throughout our term, the Northwest Territories has the potential to be an engine of economic growth for this country. We have the potential to be a net contributor to this nation, not to be drawing upon it for support.

That is a goal worth striving for, the goal of a territory rich in jobs and opportunities for all its residents, with the financial means to pay its own way and the authority to make its own decisions about its future.

Creating a strong, sustainable, prosperous North is about choices, Mr. Speaker. While I have often said that the Northwest Territories has great potential and a bright future, that future is based on making realistic choices.

We need a strong and diversified economy to have the kind of Northwest Territories we envision. Growing that economy has to start with the advantages we enjoy. Those advantages include the ingenuity and ideas of the hard working people who live here. They also include the wealth of natural resources the Northwest Territories has been blessed with.

Economic and social development in this territory have long depended on resource development. For decades, mining in the North Slave, South Slave and Sahtu gave Northerners jobs and literally built our communities. Oil and gas development has done the same for people and communities in the Mackenzie Delta and the Sahtu.

We all know that resource development can be a mixed blessing. None of us who sit in this building only a few kilometres from the former Giant Mine site can forget the potential downside of resource development that is not well managed.

That is why devolution is so important to us, Mr. Speaker. Devolution means Northerners making decisions about how to protect our land and environment and responsibly develop its resources. It means taking our time and applying made-in-the-North solutions that reflect Northern priorities and values to resource management. Devolution means not having to make the mistakes of the past again.

We have learned from the past, and we have studied the best examples of responsible, sustainable development from around the world. The path to jobs and prosperity for Northerners lies in embracing our future and the natural advantages we enjoy. It does not lie in turning our backs on the legacy Northerners have been given in the hopes we can find some other basis for a strong economy and prosperous future.

But while our future is bright, Mr. Speaker, we cannot make the mistake of believing that it is inevitable. Our natural resource wealth cannot be transformed into prosperity for Northerners if we cannot develop it and move it to market.

That means making some deliberate and strategic choices about the path forward, Mr. Speaker. It means recognizing the advantages we possess, but also addressing the challenges that we need to overcome.

It means investing in our people so they have the skills and training they need for jobs in newly vibrant industries.

It means research and development to better understand the Northwest Territories resource base and the latest best practices from around the world for responsibly developing them.

It means refining and improving the regulatory system we inherited as part of devolution and making sure it gives us the tools we need to responsibly and safely manage resource development according to Northern values and priorities.

It means securing the fiscal capacity and flexibility to invest strategically in the energy, communications and transportation infrastructure that will help the Northwest Territories compete in today’s global marketplace and allow us to grow our economy, providing long-term jobs for our residents and revenues for Northern governments.

It means strengthening our partnerships with Aboriginal and other governments, identifying the common priorities we can work together to pursue in the best interests of all Northwest Territories residents.

As we head towards the end of the 17th Assembly, we continue to make progress on our priorities and enjoy successes. In the area of partnerships, we were pleased to have the Kátł’odeeche First Nation become a signatory to the Devolution Agreement in March. We recently concluded an intergovernmental Memorandum of Understanding with the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation and an agreement on capacity building for staff with the Gwich’in Tribal Council. Nationally, the Northwest Territories has taken a lead role in chairing the Aboriginal Affairs Working Group and supporting the National Roundtable on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, which I attended along with Minister Ramsay.

In the area of the environment, Minister Miltenberger and I had the privilege of signing the Transboundary Water Management Agreement with the Government of Alberta in March. This agreement, many years in the making, is one of the first agreements of its type anywhere in the world and will ensure that decisions about water use in our two jurisdictions consider the needs of the ecosystem first.

Minister Miltenberger and I also represented the Northwest Territories at the recent Quebec Summit on Climate Change in April. Along with Nunavut and Yukon, we communicated the importance of addressing this issue, particularly in the North, while not impacting the high cost of living in the North, undermining food security or threatening emerging economies.

We continue to take steps to build a strong, well managed economy that creates sustainable benefits for Northerners. That work includes implementing the Economic Opportunities Strategy and Mineral Development Strategy and finalizing an Oil and Gas Strategy. It includes taking action on the high cost of energy and continuing to promote population growth in the Northwest Territories. We also continue to take steps to refine and improve the legislation transferred to our government a year ago, ensuring we have a strong system for managing development in a responsible and sustainable manner.

Fiscally, we were pleased to announce last month that the Government of the Northwest Territories has successfully negotiated a second increase in the federal borrowing limit and agreement to review the definition of self-financing debt. Our borrowing limit now stands at $1.3 billion dollars, up from the $575 million dollar limit we had at the start of this Assembly, when we identified increasing the limit as a priority.

This increase in our borrowing limit gives the Government of the Northwest Territories increased flexibility to invest in much needed infrastructure that will support the responsible development of the Northwest Territories and its economy and bring down the cost of living for communities and residents. The decision reflects this territory’s economic potential and recognizes our disciplined fiscal management.

We need to continue to exercise discipline in our spending decisions, even with this new borrowing limit. Before we make any spending commitments, there are some parameters that we all need to recognize. The first one is that we should only be considering strategic investments designed to support long-term economic growth for the territory, such as investments in public infrastructure.

Ensuring our territory has the energy, transportation and communications infrastructure business and industry need to be competitive in the North needs to be a priority. That investment will pay off in a strong and diversified economy that provides jobs and services to residents, while growing the Northwest Territories corporate tax base. Increased investment in public infrastructure will also continue to make our territory and communities an attractive and sustainable choice for current and new residents and help lower living costs.

The other parameter we need to recognize is that we cannot borrow to fund ongoing program and service delivery. While the desire to maintain existing programs and services or establish new ones might be strong, we can only do so if we have the revenues to pay for them. Going into debt to fund operations is not sustainable and must be avoided at all costs.

While our economic prospects are good as a territory, we have to face the fact that our economic growth is still slow, a result of the global economic slowdown several years ago and the more recent drop in world oil prices. That will continue to limit our revenues and our ability to pay for our operations. We will all be required to take a hard look at our books and work together to align our expenditures to our revenues, both for the remainder of this Assembly and into the next one.

We need to be diligent and follow our normal planning processes. Decisions on new investments will be made as part of the Government of the Northwest Territories normal planning processes and will include discussions with Members of the Legislative Assembly and other stakeholders.

Mr. Speaker, politicians are often called decision-makers, but choosers might be another way to put that. Faced with an array of possibilities and options, it is our responsibility to make wise and prudent choices based on our understanding of what will best match the needs, wishes and priorities of the people we represent.

Sometimes the choices are hard, even unpleasant, but the choices still have to be made. Where the best path is unclear, it is up to us to study the options, debate them in the Assembly and make a reasoned decision in the best interests of our territory and its residents.

While we are entering the final months of our term, the choices will continue and their impact will continue to be seen now and into the term of the next Assembly. It is up to us to make the best choices we can for the long term future of our government and the territory and I look forward to continuing to debate those choices with Members here in this House.

Thank you.

Bob McLeod: Passing of Mr. George Braden

Wed, 05/27/2015 - 15:34

Mr. Speaker, it is with great sadness that I rise today to advise Members of the passing of Mr. George Braden this past Monday in Ottawa.

Mr. Braden was a long time Northerner who graduated from Sir John Franklin Territorial High School before studying political science at the University of Alberta and Dalhousie University.

From 1977 to 1979, Mr. Braden was an advisor to the Honourable Bud Drury, the Prime Minister’s Special Representative for Constitutional Development in the Northwest Territories. In 1979 he was elected to the 9th Legislative Assembly as the Member for Yellowknife North.

The Assembly of 1979 was in transition. While all its Members were elected, the federally appointed Commissioner still had a direct role in the day-to-day administration of the Government of the Northwest Territories and chaired Cabinet meetings, which then included only three Members of the Legislative Assembly.

The number of Members of the Legislative Assembly appointed to Cabinet expanded to seven at the beginning of the 9th Assembly, with Mr. Braden chosen as one of its Members. In 1980, Mr. Braden was selected by his colleagues to be the Leader of the Elected Executive, a position that came to be known, first, as Government Leader and later as Premier.

As Leader of the Elected Executive, Mr. Braden continued the work he had begun with Mr. Drury of bringing increased decision making power to the North and promoting responsible government by Northerners for Northerners. Devolution of responsibility for land and resources during this Assembly was the most recent example of how this work continues.

As well as Leader of the Elected Executive, Mr. Braden also held portfolios as Minister of Economic Development and Tourism, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Minister of Justice and Public Services, Minister of Priorities and Planning and Minister for the Status of Women.

During his time in government, Mr. Braden also began efforts to promote a new recognition of the Northwest Territories at the national level and a more prominent role in Confederation. This included efforts to win a seat for the Northwest Territories at First Ministers conferences and his leadership of this government’s lobbying for Aboriginal rights to be included in Section 35 of the Constitution. In fact, NWT Days first originated with Mr. Braden, when he and all 22 Members of the Legislative Assembly decided to fly to Ottawa during the debates on the patriation of the Constitution to lobby for the recognition of Aboriginal rights.

Mr. Braden continued his work to promote the Northwest Territories and advance its interests after he left office in 1983. This included several years representing the Government of the Northwest Territories as Deputy Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs in our Ottawa office, where he worked to assert this government’s role as a major participant at the international level and increase its official contacts with provincial governments and other national institutions.

Mr. Braden was also Commissioner of the Northwest Territories Expo ’86 Pavilion, staffed entirely by Northwest Territories residents and promoting the fur industry, serving country food and hosting 1.5 million visitors over six months.

In recent years, Mr. Braden served as senior policy advisor to Nunavut Senator Dennis Patterson, himself a former Legislative colleague and past Premier of the Northwest Territories. He continued to be a constant promoter of the North and its potential and was a reliable advisor in Ottawa for many visiting Northwest Territories politicians, senior officials and other leaders.

Mr. Braden will be remembered not just as our first Premier, Mr. Speaker, but as one of Canada’s nation builders. He has earned this recognition for both his vision and leadership in guiding this territory along the path towards responsible Northern government and his support for placing Aboriginal rights in the Canadian Constitution. I am honoured to stand here today as Premier, and as his successor, to continue the work he dedicated much of his life to.

A book of condolences has been set up in the Great Hall beside a portrait of George that also depicts the Northwest Territories Expo ’86 Pavilion, a project very close to his heart. I welcome all members of the public to come and sign the book and offer their own memories of this great Northerner.

Mr. Braden was a true champion for the Northwest Territories and we have lost a good friend and contemporary this week, Mr. Speaker. Many of us knew and worked with George and with his brother, Bill, himself a two-term Member of this Assembly. His mother Esther is also well-known to many of us as a dedicated community builder. I invite Members to join with me in offering our profound condolences to his widow, Lise Beaudry-Braden, Esther, his sister Sandra, brothers Bill, Max and Pat and their families, represented today by his niece Carmen, on behalf of the people of the Northwest Territories.

I would now ask Members to rise with me and observe a moment of silence in memory of Mr. Braden and his contributions to this territory and its people.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Fire ban in place for Fred Henne and Yellowknife River Territorial Parks

Wed, 05/27/2015 - 14:03

YELLOWKNIFE (May 27, 2015) – Consistent with the fire ban implemented by the City of Yellowknife, a fire ban is in effect for Fred Henne and Yellowknife River Territorial Parks effective immediately.

Use of camp stoves and enclosed barbecues is permitted. Any device that uses propane to supply a burner for heating and or cooking is also permitted; such devices must be used within or on top of a fire pit in a campsite or wayside park.

Visit www.nwtfire.com  for more information on fire conditions within the NWT. Report smoke or fire to 1-877-NWT-FIRE (698-3473). Residents should contact their municipalities for information on fire bans within community limits.

Media inquiries:

Drew Williams
Manager, Public Affairs and Communications
Industry, Tourism and Investment
Government of the Northwest Territories
Tel: (867) 920-8696
Email: Drew_Williams@gov.nt.ca

Premier McLeod statement on the passing of George Braden

Wed, 05/27/2015 - 13:34

YELLOWKNIFE (May 27, 2015) – Premier Bob McLeod offered his condolences to Ms. Lise Beaudry-Braden and the family and friends of Mr. George Braden today on news of his passing.

Mr. Braden was first elected to the Northwest Territories Legislative Assembly as the Member for Yellowknife North in 1979. At the time of his election, the federally appointed Commissioner still had an active role in administering the Government of the Northwest Territories and chaired meetings of the Executive Council, which continued to include appointed members. Mr. Braden became one of the first elected MLAs to serve on the Executive Council of the 9th Assembly and was later selected by his colleagues to become the first Leader of the Elected Executive, a position that later became known as Government Leader and, now, Premier.

“Mr. Braden was a champion for responsible government in the Northwest Territories and blazed the trail we continue to follow,” said Premier McLeod. “His quiet leadership and diplomacy was instrumental in seeing political power in the Northwest Territories transfer from unelected federal officials to the elected representatives of the people and which culminated most recently in the devolution of responsibility for public land and resources in this government.”

As well as Government Leader, Mr. Braden served as Minister of Economic Development and Tourism, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Minister of Justice and Public Services, Minister of Priorities and Planning, Minister for the Status of Women and was co-chair of the NWT Special Committee on the Constitution, which argued for the recognition of Aboriginal rights in Section 35 of the Constitution.

Mr. Braden was Commissioner of the successful NWT pavilion at Expo ’86 and represented the NWT at the federal level as Deputy Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs following his term in office.

“Throughout his lifetime career as a politician and public servant, Mr. Braden was committed to the development of the Northwest Territories and defender of its interests,” said Premier McLeod. “The Northwest Territories had a good friend in him and I am sorry to hear of his passing.”

A public book of condolences has been placed in the Great Hall of the Legislative Assembly in Yellowknife, where members of the public can offer their own thoughts to the Braden family.

Media inquiries:

Roya Grinsted
Cabinet Communications
Tel: 867-669-2308
Email: roya_grinsted@gov.nt.ca

NTPC to participate in request for proposals process for the Hay River electrical franchise

Wed, 05/27/2015 - 10:36

Yellowknife (May 26, 2015) – The Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) supports the Northwest Territories Power Corporation’s (NTPC) decision to submit a proposal in the upcoming competitive process for the Hay River electrical utility franchise.

On May 25, 2015, Hay River Town Council approved a decision to issue a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the Hay River electrical franchise. The  NTPC Board of Directors had previously approached the GNWT for support to participate in this anticipated competitive process. The GNWT supports the Town of Hay River’s process and the participation of NTPC in that process. 

“It is important that every opportunity to reduce the cost of living and the costs to local businesses in Hay River is pursued,” said Premier Bob McLeod, Chair of the Ministerial Energy Coordinating and Climate-Change Committee. “The GNWT believes the RFP process initiated by the Town of Hay River could potentially lead to lower electricity rates, and therefore supports NTPC’s participation.”

“We believe that this competitive process has the potential for electricity rate reductions for the residents of Hay River” stated J. Michael. Miltenberger, Minister of Finance as well as Minister Responsible for the Northwest Territories Power Corporation. “Should NTPC be successful in this process, there would be no material impacts with respect to the fiscal position of the Government of the Northwest Territories.”

Under the Cities, Towns and Villages Act, the Town of Hay River has exercised their right to seek proposals for the provision of electricity services in Hay River. NTPC intends to submit a proposal in response to the RFP. Expanding their sales base and improving upon their economies of scale is consistent with the strategic objectives of NTPC, as established by the NTPC Board of Directors.

Pursuing opportunities to reduce the cost of living is consistent with the priorities of the 17th Legislative Assembly, including a diversified economy that provides all communities and regions with opportunities and choices, and effective and efficient government.

Media inquiries:

Roya Grinsted
Cabinet Communications
Government of the NWT
Tel: 867-669-2308
Email: roya_grinsted@gov.nt.ca

Minister announces online inspection information for licensed child day care programs

Fri, 05/22/2015 - 12:33

YELLOWKNIFE (May 22, 2015) – Minister of Education, Culture and Employment (ECE) Jackson Lafferty has announced improvements to the licensed child care programs inspection process.

“The Department is always looking for ways to improve the systems we have in place,” said Minister Lafferty. “Enhancing the inspection system will increase transparency and provide parents with valuable information to make informed choices about their child care options.”

ECE has introduced a 3-tiered risk-based  system and online posting of inspection summary information for each licenced child care program in the NWT based on its  review of the inspection system. Information from licensing inspections completed after April 1, 2015 will now be posted to ECE’s website in a searchable format.

These improvements are part of the ongoing work by the Departments of Health and Social Services and Education, Culture and Employment on the Right from the Start Early Childhood Development Framework and Action Plan. Changes address Action 6 of the Action Plan to improve the quality of licensed early childhood education and care programs, supporting the goals of the Framework.

“We have communicated with all licensed child care programs on the changes, and also provided them information to share with parents,” stated Minister Lafferty.

Only six other jurisdictions in Canada provide online child care inspection summaries, putting NWT among the lead. The new inspection system came into effect as of April 1, 2015, with information on all new inspections now available online.

For detailed information please visit: rightfromthestart.ca or www.ece.gov.nt.ca.

Media inquiries:

Tami Johnson
Education, Culture and Employment
Tel: 867-920-6147
Email:  tami_johnson@gov.nt.ca

GNWT seeking public input for new agriculture strategy

Fri, 05/15/2015 - 15:44

YELLOWKNIFE (May 15, 2015) – The Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) is inviting residents to talk about ways to grow the NWT’s agriculture sector.

A series of information-gathering sessions are being held in regional centres to help guide the development of an agriculture strategy for the NWT and to ensure it reflects the priorities of NWT residents and creates the economic opportunities this growing sector can provide for them.

“From small community gardens to commercial greenhouses and regulated egg production, our residents have shown us they are interested in participating in agriculture,” says Minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment David Ramsay. “We want to support their vision with informed government actions and policy that will advance the increased production of fresh, healthy and more affordable locally-grown food choices.”

The need for an agriculture strategy was highlighted in the NWT Economic Opportunities Strategy released in 2013.

Motivated by high food costs, positive contributions to lifestyles, product diversity and increased awareness of nutritional values, participation in local food production is increasing in almost all NWT communities.

For more information, visit www.iti.gov.nt.ca/agriculture

Media inquiries:

Drew Williams
Manager, Public Affairs and Communications
Industry, Tourism and Investment
Government of the Northwest Territories
Tel: (867) 920-8696
Email: drew_williams@gov.nt.ca

Successful winter resupply results in lower fuel prices for NWT communities

Thu, 05/14/2015 - 17:22

Yellowknife (May 14, 2015) – The Government of the Northwest Territories has successfully completed the winter road resupply of fuel to nine communities served by the Department of Public Works and Services Fuel Services Division. A decline in the market cost of fuel made it possible for the department to reduce prices in the communities that receive fuel products via the winter road system.

Winter resupply communities saw fuel prices drop as much as 37 cents per litre.   The well-constructed and maintained winter road systems contributed to the efficient transportation of fuel. 

“This year we were able to purchase fuel products at lower prices and our excellent winter roads helped us get the fuel to our communities efficiently,” said Minister of Public Works and Services Tom Beaulieu. “These lower fuel prices will provide immediate benefits to our residents living in communities served by Public Works and Services’ Petroleum Products Program.”

Reducing energy costs is one of the priorities of the Government of the Northwest Territories and the department of Public Works and Services.  A focus on renewable and alternative energy solutions, as well as government-wide policies to encourage responsible energy consumption, remains key to achieving a lower cost of living and the vision of an environmentally sustainable and prosperous Northwest Territories.

 Media Inquiries:

Roya Grinsted
Cabinet Communications
Government of the Northwest Territories
Tel: 867-669-2308
Email: roya_grinsted@gov.nt.ca

 

 

Backgrounder – Fuel Price Changes

Community Price on

Jan. 1, 2015 Price on

May 4, 2015 Total reduction Whatì (Heating Fuel)

Whatì (Diesel Motive)

Whatì (Gasoline) $1.74

$1.88

$1.72 $1.38

$1.52

$1.51 -$0.36

-$0.36

-$0.21 Gameti (Heating Fuel)

Gameti (Diesel Motive)

Gameti (Gasoline) $1.84

$1.98

$1.85 $1.47

$1.61

$1.62 -$0.37

-$0.37

-$0.23 Wekweeti (Heating Fuel)

Wekweeti (Diesel Motive)

Wekweeti (Gasoline) $1.99

$2.18

$1.99 $1.76

$1.92

$1.91 -$0.23

-$0.26

-$0.08 Jean Marie River (Heating Fuel)

Jean Marie River (Diesel Motive)

Jean Marie River (Gasoline) $1.60

$1.74

$1.52 $1.32

$1.46

$1.44 -$0.28

-$0.28

-$0.08 Nahanni Butte (Heating Fuel)

Nahanni Butte (Diesel Motive)

Nahanni Butte (Gasoline) $1.73

$1.86

$1.70 $1.46

$1.59

$1.59 -$0.27

-$0.27

-$0.11 Wrigley (Heating Fuel)

Wrigley (Diesel Motive)

Wrigley (Gasoline) $1.61

$1.75

$1.68 $1.42

$1.56

$1.49 -$0.19

-$0.19

-$0.19 Délįne (Gasoline) $1.78 $1.60 -$0.18 Trout Lake (Heating Fuel)

Trout Lake (Diesel Motive)

Trout Lake (Gasoline) $1.84

$1.90

$1.74 $1.66

$1.71

$1.62 -$0.18

-$0.19

-$0.12 Tulita (Gasoline) $1.87 $1.76 -$0.11

NWT Parks open tomorrow

Thu, 05/14/2015 - 17:14

YELLOWKNIFE (May 14, 2015) – The 2015 camping season will officially begin this weekend as most Northwest Territories campgrounds open to the public.  Parks in the Beaufort-Delta Region near Inuvik will open on Monday, June 1st.

“People travel from across Canada and around the world to enjoy the natural beauty and surroundings of the award-winning word-class park system that exists in our backyard,” Minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment (ITI) David Ramsay notes.  “From thundering waterfalls to serene hiking trails and abundant wildlife and scenery, our parks are some of the most impressive tourist attractions in the country, but they also contribute enormously to the quality of life that we enjoy here in Canada’s North.”

NWT campgrounds attracted over 24,000 campers last year.  The Government of the Northwest Territories has committed to investing $2.5 million in upgrading and maintaining NWT parks infrastructure this year.

Planned improvements include new hiking trails in the Gwich’in Territorial Park and improvements to Prelude Lake’s marina and shoreline.

There is a new loop for campers to enjoy at the Fred Henne Park in Yellowknife and new shower buildings in the Hay River Territorial Park.  Beach safety programs, begun last year, will be continued at both of these facilities.

Media inquiries:

Drew Williams
Manager, Public Affairs and Communications
Industry, Tourism and Investment
Government of the Northwest Territories
Tel: (867) 920-8696
Email: drew_williams@gov.nt.ca

Visitor information centre staff from across the NWT come together for training

Thu, 05/14/2015 - 12:45

YELLOWKNIFE (May 14, 2015) – The men and women who will staff many of the NWT’s visitor information centres met last week in Inuvik to participate in interactive training.  The two-day skills development workshop included discussions and training on customer service, centre operations and the creation of ongoing interpretive programs for visitors.

“These important individuals are the NWT’s face to the world,” says Minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment (ITI) David Ramsay. “Staff at our visitor centres are often the first point of contact for tourists travelling to the Northwest Territories.  It is their actions and the facilities they operate that give character to the warmth of our northern welcome. The first impressions they provide set the stage for a positive and memorable travel experience in the NWT.”

About 15 participants took part in the workshop, including staff from Fort Simpson, Jean Marie River, Yellowknife, Tsiigehtchic, Inuvik and Fort McPherson, as well as staff from Dawson City, Yukon.

The training was sponsored by the Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment with support from the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency (CanNor). Tourism training and readiness opportunities that let staff learn from best practices and their counterparts across the territory are an essential pillar in developing a vibrant tourism environment and ensure continued positive growth in the NWT’s front-line tourism product.

Investments in the tourism sector reflect the 17th Assembly’s goal to promote a diversified economy that will provide all communities with opportunities and choices.

Media inquiries:

Drew Williams
Manager, Public Affairs and Communications
Industry, Tourism and Investment
Government of the Northwest Territories
Tel: (867) 920-8696
Email: drew_williams@gov.nt.ca

Working Together to Improve Opportunities and Outcomes for Aborigninal Peoples Across Canada

Wed, 05/13/2015 - 15:38

YELLOWKNIFE (May 12, 2015) – The Aboriginal Affairs Working Group (AAWG), composed of provincial and territorial Ministers of Aboriginal Affairs and National Aboriginal Organization (NAO) Leaders, met in Yellowknife today to review progress and explore future opportunities to be advanced in the priority areas of education, economic development, housing, ending violence against Aboriginal women and girls, disaster mitigation and emergency management in Aboriginal communities.

Ministers and NAO Leaders discussed the outcomes of the first National Roundtable on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls held in Ottawa on February 27, 2015. Ministers and NAO Leaders called on the federal government to join in the development, implementation and funding of a prevention and awareness campaign aimed at ending violence against Aboriginal women and girls.  Delivering this campaign was a key outcome from the National Roundtable. Manitoba will also host in fall 2015 an inaugural meeting for law enforcement, prosecutors, and victim services, to explore best practices and better coordinate and share information on policing and justice responses to these cases. Ministers and NAO Leaders continued to support the NAO Leaders’ call on the federal government to hold a National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women and Girls.

Acknowledging that Aboriginal women continue to face barriers to gender equality, education and employability, Ministers and NAO Leaders discussed and directed continued development of a Socio-Economic Action Plan for Aboriginal Women.

Ministers and NAO Leaders also discussed the disproportionate number of Aboriginal children in care. The AAWG recognizes the important work being done by the working group on Aboriginal children in care and acknowledged the need for all governments to work in collaboration with Aboriginal peoples and communities to address the overrepresentation of Aboriginal children in care across the country.

Ministers and NAO Leaders endorsed continued co-operation to advance activities supporting First Nations (regardless of status or residency), Inuit and Métis communities, and renewed the invitation to the federal government to be a formal partner with AAWG to take action in building safe, vibrant and healthy communities and addressing socio-economic gaps. Ministers and NAO leaders noted the upcoming federal election presents an opportunity for all Canadians to engage candidates on key issues facing Aboriginal peoples.

The discussion and recommendations from today’s meeting will be shared with Premiers during the next meeting of Premiers and NAO Leaders on July 14-15, 2015, in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador.

Ministers and NAO Leaders agreed to meet again in Early 2016 to review progress on these activities.

For more information, please see the Backgrounder.

Contact:                  

Roya Grinsted
Communications Officer
Office of the Premier/Cabinet
Government of the Northwest Territories
Phone: (867) 669-2308
Email: Roya_Grinsted@gov.nt.ca

Quotes:

“NWAC is pleased to see that critical issues such as violence, education, housing, economic development, disaster mitigation and Aboriginal children in care are being addressed by the Aboriginal Affairs Working Group (AAWG).  Continued efforts and collaboration between all levels of government –Federal/Provincial/Territorial (F/P/T) and National Aboriginal Organizations (NAOs) — is urgently needed to address the high number of missing and murdered Aboriginal women and for them to achieve equality with that of their Canadian counterparts.  The issue of violence against Aboriginal women is so complex that we need a comprehensive strategic approach and not the piecemeal band-aid solutions of the past if we are to address the grave violation of the basic human rights of aboriginal women and girls.”

Native Women’s Association of Canada, Interim President, Dr. Dawn Harvard

“The AAWG provides an ongoing intergovernmental forum for addressing issues of critical importance to Aboriginal peoples. It is important for us to keep applying ourselves to the task at hand and to create a collaborative environment that will lead to tangible results. I am pleased with progress on economic development and education and look forward to tackling issues related to improving the child welfare system and violence against children and women.”

Métis National Council Vice-President, David Chartrand

“It is imperative for us to work with the Provinces and Territories to ensure that the Metis people within the homeland are a part of solutions moving forward and that a Metis specific process will ensure the success of the collaborative initiatives. The AAWG gives us the opportunity to move forward with that focus.”

Women of the Métis Nation President, Melanie Omeniho

“The social and economic costs of maintaining the status quo costs First Nations and all Canadians, with First Nations children paying the highest price.  We can and must do better.  The focus must be on outcomes.  I told the Ministers of Aboriginal Affairs and Premiers in attendance that we need to reframe the work to create results for our peoples.  New investments and action are needed to close the gap in the quality of life between First Nations and other Canadians – to support Indigenous languages, to have access to adequate housing, to prevent violence against women and girls and to keep our children in safe and supportive homes and out of the child welfare system.  We agreed here that closing the gap is a priority for all of us and I look forward to the hard work of making that a reality.”

Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde

“On behalf of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami and our Board of Directors, I would like to acknowledge the ongoing work and commitment of the AAWG to advancing the rights of and opportunities for Indigenous people in Canada.  I was pleased to provide remarks about the importance of appropriate and accessible education for our Inuit communities. I was also proud to update the AAWG on the progress of ITK’s Amaujaq National Centre for Inuit Education’s strategy ‘First Canadians, Canadians First’ working to get Inuit children to school every day, on time, well-rested and ready to learn”

Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami President, Terry Audla

“In the Northwest Territories our experience is that we are stronger and more successful when we work together as partners. This has been at the foundation of our commitment to engage with Aboriginal governments and organizations in the spirit of respect, recognition and responsibility. As the Chair of the Aboriginal Affairs Working Group, I am encouraged by the progress we have made and the commitment of all provinces, territories and National Aboriginal Organizations to engage in collaborative and respectful dialogue. The Aboriginal Affairs Working Group will continue to work in partnership to develop solutions and build on successes that help to  improve the well-being of Aboriginal peoples across Canada.”

Honorable Bob McLeod, Premier and Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Intergovernmental Relations, Northwest Territories

“The Aboriginal Affairs Working Group continues to be a productive and constructive venue for dialogue and I greatly appreciate the collaboration and leadership shown by the provinces and territories, as well as from the other National Aboriginal Organizations over the past six years. There is much work ahead for all of us in addressing Canada’s greatest injustice, the denial of the rights of Aboriginal Peoples. Working together, we can make a difference.”

National Chief Betty Ann Lavallee, Congress of Aboriginal Peoples

GNWT and Gwich’in Tribal Council sign agreement on capacity building

Mon, 05/11/2015 - 18:47

YELLOWKNIFE (May 11, 2015) –  Premier Bob McLeod and President James Wilson signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Capacity Building between the Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) and the Gwich’in Tribal Council (GTC).

“Strong governments at all levels are critical to building a strong, prosperous territory that provides jobs and opportunities for all its residents,” said Premier McLeod. “This agreement and our ongoing partnership with the Gwich’in Tribal Council will help strengthen both our governments and encourages the employment of Gwich’in in the public service and public agencies. We are committed to working together with the Gwich’in Tribal Council to advance our common goals of recruiting, improving and retaining capacity in the Northwest Territories.” 

“This MOU represents an historic investment in Gwich’in workers and will serve to create another strong foundation for partnership between the GTC and the GNWT,” said President Wilson.

The Agreement is for a five year term and commits both governments to explore internship opportunities for Gwich’in employees in the GNWT.  The parties will develop a joint internship pilot project that will provide for full-time employment opportunities with the GNWT for up to a maximum of nine Gwich’in workers.  Interns will have the opportunity to gain work experience with the GTC and the GNWT for work placements of up to 12 consecutive months in each organization.

Media inquiries:

Roya Grinsted
Cabinet Communications
Government of the Northwest Territories
Tel: 867-669-2308
Email: roya_grinsted@gov.nt.ca

Patrick Tomlinson
Gwich’in Tribal Council
Tel: 867-777-7900

Premier and President Signing (left-right): Premier Bob McLeod and President James Wilson

GTC and NWT Signing (left-right): Minister of Human Resources Tom Beaulieu, Premier Bob McLeod, President James Wilson and Vice-President Norman Snowshoe

Be a Tourist in Your Own Town promotion launches

Fri, 05/08/2015 - 15:58

YELLOWKNIFE (May 8, 2015) – Yellowknife residents are encouraged to become “tourists in their own town” this month in a joint initiative designed to promote and increase awareness of the NWT capital’s tourism product.

“See Yellowknife through the eyes of a tourist,” encourages Minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment (ITI) David Ramsay. “Spend a weekend getaway at a lodge, visit one of its unique tourism venues, take a guided tour or shop at one of our local retailers.  It’s a great chance to enjoy what our capital city has to offer.”

“Tourism is identified as a key component within the City’s Economic Development Strategy,” said Mark Heyck, Mayor of Yellowknife. “Partnering with the Government of the Northwest Territories and NWT Tourism is a great opportunity for us all to work together to benefit the industry.”

“These kinds of partnerships provide excellent opportunities for residents to grow their own understanding of the world-class tourism product the NWT has to offer, and to see why so many national and international visitors travel great distances at great expense to experience the Northwest Territories,” said Cathie Bolstad, Executive Director of NWT Tourism.  “NWT Tourism’s participation is part of a larger initiative we will be introducing in all regions of the NWT as part of our national tourism week activities early in June.”

Until June 5th, Yellowknifers can redeem coupons for discounts, activities and free gifts at participating retailers and businesses. Each coupon will also serve as a ballot for one of four prizes to be drawn for on June 5th:

  • A trip to Hearne Lake Lodge;
  • A camping experience at Prelude Lake Territorial Park;
  • A workshop for six at Old Town Glassworks; and
  • A gift basket from Northern Frontier Visitors Centre.

Free coupon books are available at Yellowknife City Hall and the Northern Frontier Visitors Centre, and will be distributed at the ITI booth at this weekend’s Spring Trade Show.

Tourism plays a vital role in the NWT economy. In the 2013/14 fiscal year, the industry contributed $132.5 million in visitor revenue and attracted 90,000 visitors from around the world.

The NWT tourism sector holds the potential to create economic opportunities in every region of the NWT – and to contribute to the growth and realization of sustainable and vibrant communities as envisioned in the goals and priorities of the 17th Legislative Assembly.

Media inquiries:

Drew Williams
Manager, Public Affairs and Communications
Industry, Tourism and Investment
Government of the Northwest Territories
Tel: (867) 920-8696
Email: drew_williams@gov.nt.ca

Richard McIntosh
Communications & Economic Development Officer
City of Yellowknife
Tel: (867) 669-3424
Fax: (867)920-5649

Julie Warnock
Communications Officer
Northwest Territories Tourism
Tel: (867) 873-5007 Ext: 226
Email: julie@spectacularnwt.com

Premier McLeod announces Deputy Minister appointment

Fri, 05/08/2015 - 15:33

YELLOWKNIFE (May 8, 2015) – Premier Bob McLeod today announced that Ms. Bronwyn Watters has been named as the new Deputy Minister of Human Resources.

Ms. Watters is a longtime Northerner with a 35-year career in public service. She is a former Deputy Minister of Justice and has previously held senior positions in Education, Culture and Employment and Health and Social Services.

“I have worked with Ms. Watters for many years in my role as Premier and Deputy Minister,” said Premier Bob McLeod. “She is a committed and dedicated public servant who brings a wealth of Northern experience and professionalism to her new appointment. She is well known for her role in advancing many social programs and initiatives through a collaborative and consensus-building approach and I look forward to working with her again in her new role.”

Ms. Watters was a recipient of the Dave Ramsden award for career excellence in 2012, her appointment will take effect in June.

Media inquiries:

Roya Grinsted
Cabinet Communications
Government of the NWT
Tel: 867-669-2308
Email: roya_grinsted@gov.nt.ca

 

David Ramsay: Offshore Technology Conference

Thu, 05/07/2015 - 18:33

HOUSTON (May 5, 2015)- Good afternoon. It is a pleasure to be here today, and to participate in this panel discussion on behalf of the Government of the Northwest Territories, in Canada’s Arctic.

My comments today are titled “Unlocking OUR potential”. They could as easily be titled “Unlocking YOUR potential”.

You may ask how a small Canadian territory can presume to talk about unlocking the potential of the international oil and gas industry.

That is the question that I would like to address for you today.

I’d like to tell you about our potential, about what we are doing to realise that potential, and about what investors can gain from that potential.

To do that, I must first tell you a little bit about the Northwest Territories – and how we are positioned – both physically and economically – in North America’s energy marketplace.

Canada’s Northwest Territories – we call it the NWT – sits at the very top of North America.  Our vast, rugged and sparsely populated landscape is about twice the size of Texas.  It lies east of Alaska and the Yukon, directly north of the Canadian provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan. It stretches north from the 60th parallel all the way to the Arctic Ocean.

Threading through our territory, north to the Arctic Ocean, is the Mackenzie River.  It is the largest and longest river system in Canada. In North America, only the Mississippi is longer.  It runs over 1,000 miles before draining into the Beaufort Sea. Its delta is about the size of Texas. The river’s path through the Mackenzie Valley offers a natural corridor between Alberta and the Arctic coast. It is a route once followed by the voyageur fur traders who first introduced commerce to our North.

Ladies and gentlemen, Canada’s Northwest Territories may be vast and isolated – but we are teeming with economic potential.  One of the most dramatic things that you need to understand about the NWT is that what we lack in population, we make up for in resources and energy reserves.

The Mackenzie River corridor that I have described to you travels through vast, isolated regions of forest and tundra laden with minerals and energy potential. The Canol Shale deposit, alone, holds an estimated two to three billion barrels of oil. Canada’s oldest and most productive oil field continues to ship our crude to market along this corridor.

Much of our region is located within the Western Canada Sedimentary Basin and the Arctic Sedimentary Basin. While under-explored, we estimate that our territory sits atop an estimated 80 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and seven billion barrels of oil.

It is believed that the Arctic contains one-fifth of the world’s untapped oil and gas reserves.  These resources are the foundation of the proposed Mackenzie Gas Project. That project is planned and permitted to follow our Mackenzie River corridor North to South – bringing 1.2 billion cubic feet per day of stranded energy resources to market.

Finally, there is the potential of our offshore – beneath the waters of the Beaufort Sea – where we are focusing more and more on our robust energy reserves.  Based on geological analysis by both the U.S. Geological Survey and our own advisors, the Arctic waters off the Northwest Territories have the oil potential to rival the Gulf of Mexico. The Amauligak field just off of our northern shore line is thought to contain up to 250 million barrels of oil.

You can connect the dots yourself.

The world is looking for a reliable supply of energy resources to meet a growing demand.  The Arctic offers one of the best new and stable sources of energy on the planet.

From our part of the world looking south, we are at the furthest northern reaches of the Pacific Northwest Economic Trade Region. We’re about as far away from North American energy markets as you can get.

But looking north, we offer a gateway to the Arctic Ocean. Our vision of a combined energy, communications and transportation corridor along the Mackenzie Valley to the Beaufort Sea can be made ready – if we keep working one step at a time.

Together with the Government of Canada, we are completing the next leg of the Mackenzie Valley Highway that will, in time, follow this entire route. It will link many of our small and isolated communities to each other – and our country from coast to coast to coast. Over 600 people are working around the clock building the Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk Highway. When complete, it will increase opportunities for business development, reduce the cost of job-creating onshore oil and gas development, and strengthen Canada’s sovereignty in the North.

Meanwhile, we have begun the planning for the next leg of the highway, linking the resource-rich Sahtu region to the rest of Canada. This area is home to Canada’s oldest and most productive oil field. It continues to ship our crude to market along the corridor to northern Alberta from Norman Wells in the heart of the NWT. The new highway would provide year-round truck access to a region containing an estimated 2 to 3 billion barrels of oil, opening up new opportunities for exploration and development.

And work is underway to lay a fibre optic line along this path, linking satellite receivers at the top of the continent with data centres around the world and giving our small communities more tools to do business.  It will make us a leader in the remote satellite sensing field. High-tech and traditional businesses will look to us for the communications capacity they need in today’s connected world.

The combined energy, communications and transportation corridor will be a road to resources, opening up new exploration and development opportunities.  Once it is in place, it will form the backbone of energy development in our territory for decades.

Completing our corridor is in the global energy interest.  We are ready and willing to step forward as a full partner to make it happen – with creative and collaborative solutions that can benefit everybody.

We are investing in research through the Northwest Territories Geological Survey, evaluating resource potential, mapping bedrock and permafrost, and monitoring seismic activity. We are building the connections that will create our energy, communications and transportation corridor – the Mackenzie Valley Fibre Link will be over 1400 kilometres long when it is completed next year, and we are seeking the partnerships to complete the highway throughout the valley. And just last month we took the important step to introduce filing regulations for hydraulic fracturing operations. The new regulations will provide certainty for industry while meeting northern priorities related to surface and groundwater information, measures to address air quality, enhanced reporting, and public disclosure.

We must continue to prepare for future development opportunities, when oil and gas prices inevitably recover.  We need to be ready to make the most of development when it occurs. Our people, communities and businesses must be positioned to seize the opportunities that will come. We need to make the partnerships now for the major infrastructure investments that will support the development of our vast natural resources.

Thanks to our experience in diamonds, our people and businesses are already positioned to be competitive globally.   And our government is open for business.

We are ready to talk to socially and environmentally responsible companies that want to work and invest with us to develop our resources, build our economy, unlock our potential – and bring our resources to hungry markets around the world.

But as easy as it is to join these points in a speech – or on a map, the reality is that the cost of new infrastructure required to connect our resources to markets is about as enormous as our stranded potential.

Ladies and gentlemen, I believe the solution may lie in not only unlocking the potential of Canada’s Northwest Territories but that of Alberta and British Columbia.

Over the coming decades, production may decline in the United States. But, backed by the right technology, responsible northern production could sustain the North American supply. Now is the time to have these conversations. That is why I am here.

Global markets have shifted. Commodity prices have changed the discussion – in the short term.  This is the right time to create the conditions for investment.  Markets will rebound. We all know that.  Resource markets have ups and downs.  They always have, and they always will.  That is the way resource markets work – in cycles.

While we wait for the markets to rebound, we are building the partnerships to responsibly manage our resources, support scientific research, and protect our environment.

Ladies and gentlemen, the Northwest Territories is the key to opening western Canada to international oil and gas investors, explorers and producers.  We offer the next economic frontier and the foundation of sound economic expansion – investment attraction, job creation, and future prosperity.

Thank you.

Resource potential highlighted at Offshore Technology Conference

Thu, 05/07/2015 - 15:48

HOUSTON (May 7, 2015) – Minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment (ITI) David Ramsay told delegates at the Offshore Technology Conference in Houston this week that the Northwest Territories is looking to talk with socially and environmentally responsible companies willing to work with the Government of the NWT (GNWT) and invest in developing the NWT’s resources, building its economy, unlocking its potential, and getting stranded oil and gas resources to energy markets around the world.

“We offer the next economic frontier and the foundation of sound economic expansion: investment attraction, job creation and future prosperity,” Minister Ramsay said in a panel discussion on North American challenges and opportunities that shape the global energy outlook.

Minister Ramsay’s speech in Houston highlighted the wealth of NWT oil and gas resources that remain untapped.  He also pointed to the NWT’s growing communications, transportation and energy infrastructure needs – and the breadth and value of the potential and opportunity that exist for investors, corporations and even nations interested in partnering and investing in Canada’s North.

Founded in 1969, the Offshore Technology Conference is one of the foremost annual gatherings of energy professionals and investors in the world.

In the new post-devolution environment, the GNWT has greater ownership and authority to promote the potential of the NWT’s resource sector more directly.

By increasing awareness of the resource potential that exists within the NWT, ITI is helping to establish a strong and independent north built on partnerships, a goal of the 17th Legislative Assembly.

Media inquiries:

Drew Williams
Manager, Public Affairs and Communications
Industry, Tourism and Investment
Government of the Northwest Territories
Tel: (867) 920-8696
Email: drew_williams@gov.nt.ca

2015 outstanding volunteers honoured

Thu, 05/07/2015 - 15:32

KÁTLODÉÉCHE FIRST NATION (May 7, 2015) – Minister Glen Abernethy will recognize Northwest Territories (NWT) volunteers on behalf of Minister of Municipal and Community Affairs Robert C. McLeod at the 2015 Outstanding Volunteer Awards ceremony on Friday, May 8.  These annual awards provide an opportunity to show our appreciation to volunteers and volunteer organizations for their outstanding contributions in communities across the territory.

“Volunteers play an important role in helping to build sustainable, vibrant communities all over the Northwest Territories, and the Government of the Northwest Territories is committed to supporting them,” said Minister McLeod. “Along with our partner, the NWT Association of Communities, we are pleased to celebrate and recognize those who selflessly devote their time and effort to building betters communities.

Recipients of the 2015 NWT Outstanding Volunteer Awards are:

  • Outstanding Elder Award                   – Florence Barnaby, Fort Good Hope
  • Outstanding Youth Award                   – Renee Ekendia, Behchoko
  • Outstanding Individual Award            – Marilyn Napier, Fort Smith
  • Outstanding Group Award                  – Muskrat Jamboree Committee, Inuvik

MACA presents the Outstanding Volunteer Awards annually to individuals and groups who have helped improve the quality of life in the NWT through volunteerism.  For further details about the Outstanding Volunteer Awards, please visit MACA’s website at www.maca.gov.nt.ca.

Recognizing and celebrating volunteers who build sustainable, vibrant, safe communities is one way the Government of the Northwest Territories is working to advance the goals of the 17th Legislative Assembly.

Media inquiries:

David Maguire
Communications and Web Advisor
Municipal and Community Affairs
Government of the Northwest Territories
Tel: (867) 920-3092
Email: david_maguire@gov.nt.ca

Premier McLeod congratulates Rachel Notley

Thu, 05/07/2015 - 13:42

YELLOWKNIFE (May 7, 2015) – NWT Premier Bob McLeod would like to congratulate Alberta Premier-designate Rachel Notley on her win this week in the provincial elections.

“The Northwest Territories and Alberta share many close ties and common interests,” said Premier McLeod. “Ms. Notley’s interest in sustainable growth and economic diversification aligns with our own and I look forward to working with her to advance the shared interests of Albertans and Northwest Territories residents. I wish her all the best as she prepares for her new role as Premier and look forward to continuing our jurisdictions’ ongoing work to create prosperity and opportunities for our people and for Canada.

“I want to thank former Premier Jim Prentice for all the work we did together as governments, including the recent signing of a transboundary water management agreement.  I wish him all the best in future endeavors.”

Media inquiries:

Roya Grinsted
Cabinet Communications
Government of the NWT
Tel: 867-669-2308
Email: roya_grinsted@gov.nt.ca

Overwhelming turnout for morel mushroom information sessions

Wed, 05/06/2015 - 10:42

YELLOWKNIFE (May 6, 2015) – Nearly 1,200 residents have participated in 19 morel mushroom information sessions hosted by the Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment (ITI).

Minister of ITI David Ramsay says the huge turnout is a reflection of the incredible interest that NWT residents have. “Sessions were not solely about enabling NWT residents to take advantage of this economic opportunity, but also reinforcing the message that if people want to take advantage of this opportunity, we want them to do it in a way that is safe, legal and respectful of the environment,” the Minister said.

Information sessions were held in communities that could see a bountiful mushroom crop this year, including Jean Marie River, Tlicho communities and communities  in the South Slave and North Slave Regions. The sessions included a presentation on morel mushrooms, the potential areas for harvesting, methods for harvesting and caring for morels and discussions on marketing.

Walking workshops will also be held beginning in mid-May to provide hands-on harvesting experience to interested participants.

In the 2014 season, Dehcho residents earned an estimated $750,000 by harvesting morel mushrooms in the Fort Simpson vicinity. Sales from the 2015 season could yield as much as $10 million for NWT residents. Supporting the development of sustainable industries in the NWT’s communities and regions is one way that the Government of the Northwest Territories is helping to diversify the economy to create jobs and opportunities for NWT residents.

The Morel Mushroom Harvesters Guide, as well as safety information and maps, can be found on the ITI website at: www.iti.gov.nt.ca/morels.

Media inquiries:

Drew Williams
Manager, Public Affairs and Communications
Industry, Tourism and Investment
Government of the Northwest Territories
Tel: (867) 920-8696
Email: drew_williams@gov.nt.ca

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