Wally Schumann: National Trade Corridors Fund Announcement
Good morning. I am pleased to be here this morning to take part in this official announcement. I would like to thank MP McLeod and all guests for joining us.
MP McLeod continues to support our infrastructure initiatives and recognizes that these types of projects are investments in the future of the north. For that and his continued support, we are grateful and pleased that you are able to join us this morning.
This funding announcement brings the Slave Geological Province Corridor one step closer to reality. Here in the North, highway infrastructure plays a very important part in in the longevity and well-being of our communities.
Not just because of the connections it makes, or because of its ability to improve the resiliency of the Northwest Territories transportation system to the effects of climate change, but also because of the skills, training and economic benefits opportunities that strategy infrastructure projects bring to the communities and the people.
Of the total $40 million in funding announced today, the federal government is contributing $30 million, while the Government of the Northwest Territories will provide the remaining $10 million. This funding is intended to support environmental regulatory reviews and planning studies for the Slave Geological Province Corridor.
Together, these investments will bring us closer to achieving our vision of an all-weather corridor into the Slave Geological Province.
The Slave Geological Province is a region rich in mineral deposits. Many of you have heard me say this before, that it is believed that the Slave Geological Province will – in time – rival the Abitibi belt in Northern Ontario which has brought billions in economic activity benefiting not just the region, but our country.
The long-term vision for the SGP is to include transportation, hydro, and communications infrastructure that will ultimately connect to a road and deep-water port on the Arctic Ocean in Nunavut.
This will strengthen the NWT as a service centre for new exploration and mine development opportunities, while increasing the feasibility of resource development in both territories.
Improved access into the region would also reduce operating costs for existing mines, and facilitate resource exploration and development activities.
Additionally, it will help to mitigate the effects of climate change by replacing the existing winter road into the region with more reliable access.
The corridor will also enhance the feasibility of expanding the Taltson Hydro System and maintaining a transmission line into the Slave Geological Province, which would lower industrial emissions and support the NWT meet its commitments under the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change.
Government partnerships are a crucial ingredient to ensure concrete benefits can be realized for NWT residents and businesses throughout this project. I would like to recognize the Yellowknives Dene First Nation members in the room, as well as the North Slave Metis Alliance.
We also continue to work with the Kitikmeot Inuit Association on our shared long-term vision of a transportation corridor connecting the Canadian highway system to the Arctic Ocean through the Slave Geological Province, and continue to have ongoing discussions with the Government of Nunavut and Government of Canada on this project.
Over the next few months, the GNWT will continue to focus its attention to engagement with Indigenous governments and other stakeholders, environmental activities supporting the protection of wildlife such as caribou, and additional planning and engineering work required for the environmental and regulatory reviews of this project.
Meaningful infrastructure investment such as this will unleash the potential of the North to contribute to Canada’s wealth, and we look forward to continuing to work with the Federal government to help bring this project to reality.