“Here is the big picture. In the next ten years, more than 500 large new development
projects will be proposed for Canada. Together these new investments will be worth
more than half a trillion dollars. This means jobs and growth, jobs and growth that
Canada needs as we continue to navigate our way through a troubled global economy.”
(Prime Minister Stephen Harper – August 21, 2012)
Good morning, everyone. Thank you for that warm welcome. Thank you particularly, Leona, for that introduction, and also for all the great work you’re doing as our minister responsible for the three territories.
I’m delighted to be here on this, my seventh consecutive summer tour of Canada’s North, and there’s no place I’d rather begin than here in Yukon. I’d like to welcome all the dignitaries as well, Premier Pasloski, Chief McGuinty, and elder-in-training Harper.
You look too young to be an elder, so I’ll go along with elder-in-training. Minister Duncan, of course, joins us, territorial ministers Cathers, Nixon, Dixon, Senator Lang, and of course, your Member of Parliament and our emcee for today, Ryan Leef.
I’d also like to express appreciation to you, Darren Pylot, and to everyone here at Capstone Mining for your hospitality and for making your facilities available to us today.
Our visit to Minto Mine is timely because responsible resource development is going to be critical for many years to come, not just for the Northern economy, but for Canada’s economy as a whole, and you can see that here with people who have come from all over Canada to work here.
Here is the big picture. In the next ten years, more than 500 large new development projects will be proposed for Canada.
Together these new investments will be worth more than half a trillion dollars.
This means jobs and growth, jobs and growth that Canada needs as we continue to navigate our way through a troubled global economy.
Much of that growth will be here in the North.
Indeed, such is the magnitude of the North’s resource wealth that we are only quite literally just scratching the surface.
Now, there is an even bigger picture.
Resource development constitutes just one part of our Government’s Northern strategy.
Our focus on the North, as my trips here demonstrate, is long-term.
It is monumental in scope and ambition.
It is an unprecedented exercise in promoting four things, economic and social development, in protecting our environmental heritage, improving and shifting governance to Northerners themselves, and of course, upholding Canadian sovereignty.
It is a massive endeavour, a simultaneous campaign involving multiple departments of government, and upon its success depends the kind of country Canada will be in the century to come.
One of the guiding principles of our Northern strategy is that Northern development must mean Northern prosperity.
I’m therefore delighted to confirm today, to announce that earlier we signed, Premier Pasloski and our Government, we signed a revised royalty sharing agreement between our Government and the government of the Yukon.
Under this agreement, Yukoners will benefit to a much greater extent from the expected boom in mineral exploration and development during the decades to come.
Let me just take a moment to outline some very important achievements of the Northern strategy so far.
I want to put particular emphasis just on achievements that relate to developments like this one.
For instance, it’s been said that finding minerals is like looking for a needle in a haystack, especially in a land so vast and challenging as Canada’s North.
Ultimately, industry has to find those needles, but the government can at least point it to the haystacks.
That’s why we pledge to produce new geological maps of the North, to help prospectors find energy and minerals.
In fact, much of the fieldwork has now been done, and the results made available.
Exploration companies are now using the data to decide where they will invest.
For example, following public release of data from our energy and minerals geomapping program, large parts of Southwest Yukon were staked.
Many companies have been involved.
One, Tarsus Resources, has reported a significant copper, gold, silver find; as a result, people are getting jobs.
Throughout the North, mining projects are providing well paying jobs for Canadians.
Nine producing mines in the North, including Yukon’s own Minto, this one, Wolverine and Keno Hill, are providing opportunities for thousands of Canadians today.
24 advanced natural resource projects representing more than $20 billion in investment have the potential to provide opportunities for thousands more.
Our Government has also said that there should be an agency to help Northerners benefit from the opportunities to come.
Therefore, we established the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency. Earlier this year, we opened its permanent headquarters, not, I might add, in Ottawa or Gatineau, but in Iqaluit.
Nor did we wait for the building to be finished.
For some time the agency has been working with our Northern partners and stakeholders to create jobs, business opportunities, and long-term growth for Northern communities.
Through CanNor, we’ve made investments in tourism, mining, oil and gas, geoscience, even fishing.
For example, the small craft harbour to support the fishing industry at Pangnirtung is nearing completion.
Speaking of CanNor, one of its most important responsibilities is the Northern Projects Management Office. As in the South, we want to ensure a single window for industry in dealing with government.
We need thorough, balanced, science-based environmental assessments, conducted on a timely basis according to the principle one project, one review, so that opportunities like this one here can be realized across the North in a responsible manner.
I could go on.
I could talk about some of our related investments in training and housing and in other pillars of our Northern strategy.
Let me just say this.
Much has been done, but there is much more to do. We are only just beginning, and so the results of our efforts only just beginning to show.
Because, ladies and gentlemen…
The North has always been Canada’s great frontier and Canadians’ greatest adventure.
We are determined through our sustained and unprecedented focus on the North that you shall see unprecedented Northern economic development over the next five years, nicely in time for Confederation’s 150th birthday.
That’s our goal, and we shall achieve it.
You’ve been very generous, everybody, with your time and attention.
Thank you very much.