Indian and Northern Affairs Canada

Indian and Northern Affairs Canada

November 23, 2007 17:14 ET

Northern Development Ministers' Forum Highlights Successes

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Nov. 23, 2007) - Federal, provincial and territorial ministers representing northern Canadian jurisdictions met in Ottawa for their annual two-day meeting.

The Dynamic North was the theme for this year's forum, which was hosted by the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Metis and Non-Status Indians, the Honourable Chuck Strahl, and co-chaired by the Parliamentary Secretary for Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, Rod Bruinooge. Discussions focused on opportunities, challenges and the changing nature of development in Canada's North, including issues such as climate change, regulatory improvement, and consultation and accommodation with Aboriginal Peoples. Presentations by two northern community youth groups-the Cross Lake Army Cadet Program, based in Cross Lake, Manitoba, and Nunavut Sivuniksavut, based in Ottawa, Ontario - highlighted efforts to ensure that northern youth are equipped to take advantage of development opportunities.

"In recent years, Canada's northern regions have experienced unprecedented growth and development. It has become clear that governments and northerners must work together to respond to these changes, and prepare to capitalize on opportunities for future growth," said Minister Strahl. "The recent Speech from the Throne highlighted our Government's commitment to the North", Minister Strahl added. "Moving forward, we will work with provincial and territorial governments to examine what steps we can take to address these challenges and realize the vast potential of this region."

Ministers asked their officials to establish two working groups: one on climate change that would document and share information on strategies to mitigate and adapt to climate change as it affects northern development and another to develop a proposal for the future direction of the Forum, and how best to focus efforts to maximize the Forum's impact.

They also launched an official website for the Forum: www.focusnorth.ca and approved the proposed theme for the 2008 meeting, Developing the Tourism Potential of the North, which will be hosted by the Government of the Northwest Territories. Ministers also received reports on other priority projects.

"I look forward to hosting this summit in the Northwest Territories next year. Our region, in particular, is experiencing rapid growth and development. Our Territory will provide an excellent backdrop for this forum to continue our work and dialogue on Northern issues," stated Robert R. McLeod, Minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment, Government of the Northwest Territories.

The forum was established in 2001 to promote the diverse interests of northerners and the accomplishments, contributions and potential of the North.

Observations by Ministers in Attendance

"This important forum provides a valuable opportunity for jurisdictions from across Canada to share ideas and information on common issues facing northern communities," said the Honourable Michael Gravelle, Minister of Northern Development and Mines for Ontario. "I am particularly excited about pursuing an innovation agenda and maximizing the benefits of an innovative economy for our residents."

"Our discussions confirm the extent of the impact of climate change on the Northern regions, and enable us to identify the related issues and determine how we need to change our current way of doing things to enable Northern residents to adapt," stated Vincent Auclair, parliamentary assistant to the Quebec Minister of municipal and regional affairs. "In fact, phenomena such as melting ice caps, deteriorating permafrost, and the introduction of new species will certainly generate new issues for the North. We have benefited from the presence of experts in this field to examine some adaptation strategies."

The Honourable Eric Robinson, Manitoba Minister of Culture, Heritage, Tourism and Sport, attending on behalf of Honourable Oscar Lathlin, Manitoba Minister of Aboriginal and Northern Affairs, said, "The Forum provided an opportunity for the Cross Lake Cadets to present the story of how an army cadet corps came to the communities of Cross Lake First Nation and Cross Lake Community Council. Simply put, the Cross Lake Cadets have instilled community pride, have become role models for youth across Northern Manitoba, and are now becoming role models for Aboriginal youth across this country."

Dennis MacKay, MLA for Bulkley Valley-Stikine, attending the Forum on behalf of the Honourable Colin Hansen, Minister of Economic Development for British Columbia, said, "In British Columbia's northern region, optimism is building as new opportunities for economic diversification are emerging. We are pleased to learn from our colleagues and to share our vision for community-led economic development that takes full advantage of our status as Canada's Pacific Gateway."

"Great, exciting things are happening in Northern Canada, particularly in the tourism and natural resource sectors," said the Honourable John Hickey, Minister of Labrador Affairs, Government of Newfoundland and Labrador. "I always enjoy sharing information with my northern colleagues, on these and other pressing issues, affecting the North."

"As we have seen at this conference, Canada's north presents great challenges but also great opportunity for our youth. We must help them prepare for the future," said the Honourable David Simailak, Minister of Economic Development and Transportation for the Government of Nunavut.

Contact Information

  • Office of the Honourable Chuck Strahl
    Philippe Mailhot
    Press Secretary
    819-997-0002
    or
    Indian and Northern Affairs Canada
    Media Relations
    819-953-1160