July 26, 2022
Minister Wawzonek addressed the 31st Annual PNWER Summit this morning.
PNWER (which stands for the Pacific NorthWest Economic Region) is a recognized non-partisan policy forum for regionally-based collaboration between public, private, academic, and non-profit stakeholders in pursuit of economic goals.
The Minister participated (virtually) alongside Yukon Premier Sandy Silver and Alaska Lt Governor Kevin Meyer in a panel discussion on the importance of developing Arctic infrastructure.
Speaking in the context of Russia’s military action against the Ukraine, the Minister noted that there is renewed urgency to discussions about Canada’s presence in the Arctic.
“To be truly impactful, any commitment to developing the North must extend beyond its physical location to focus on its people. Not as an after-thought; or as benefactors of a robust military presence. Not as an interest group; but by placing Northern Canadians as the very immediate beneficiaries and drivers of any development – and with a fundamental role to play in any form of development itself.”
“Sovereignty and security should not be the reason for investment in the North, the Minister said, “but the result.”
Noting “that the building blocks to create a strong and prosperous Arctic exist,” she highlighted the need for key investments in infrastructure. Investments she said will help unleash the full economic potential of Canada’s North and simultaneously address the volatility of the Arctic by empowering the people of the North.