Supporting Arctic Sovereignty Through Economic Development: The NWT Makes Its Case

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May 6, 2019 

The latest bi-annual  Arctic Security Working Group meetings wrapped up in Yellowknife last week.

The three-day forum brought together a variety of government stakeholders from across the Canada’s North to talk about Arctic Sovereignty and what must be done to protect it.

Deputy Minister for Industry, Tourism and Investment Tom Jensen made the GNWT’s case on economic development as an important part of a road map to sovereignty and security.

“Economic development demands activity on the landscape,” Jensen explained. “Occupying the field helps assert sovereignty, sovereignty brings greater security.”

Jensen drove home the NWT’s work towards economic growth.

“We’re investing in improving Arctic transportation corridors to the coast, enhancing our knowledge economy through fibre optic and satellite links, and promoting the vast mineral and gas wealth we have just beneath the land,” he outlined in his remarks.

“Huge challenges remain. With a population of just over 44,500 spread across 33 communities and 1.3 million square kilometres of land, we need help to invest in addressing them,” Jensen said.

“We need Significant infrastructure investment — from roads to rails to ports. We must develop our hydro grid to supply the activities we need to grow this territory with clean, abundant energy.  And we need more responsible development to get people to work and enhance our economic fortunes.” 

“What better way to assert our Northern sovereignty than with vibrant and sustainable communities – filled with healthy and employed residents,” he noted.