What is good for the North is good for Canada
There can be no doubt that Prime Minister Stephen Harper is making Canada’s North a high priority.
In addition to his annual visit to the sparsely populated regions, he has enacted dozens of measures to revolutionize the Northern economy.
The Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut feature some of our country’s most pristine natural areas, brimming with resources. Our prime minister knows the environmentally responsible extraction of these minerals and energy is in Canada’s best interest.
He also knows that unlocking these resources can be the key to lifting education and employment levels for Northerners. At a time when skilled labour is urgently required by Canadian industries working in the North, our prime minister is making Northern education a priority. On Aug. 19, he announced the creation of a new Centre for Northern Innovation in Mining (CNIM) at Yukon College. In addition to training Northerners for the jobs available in the growing mining and exploration sectors, CNIM will conduct applied research and development to address northern-specific challenges. The project will create an estimated 40 construction jobs and six permanent full-time and part-time jobs. Within its first five years the CNIM is also expected to generate up to 520 trades, mining and apprenticeship graduates, plus 710 students completing shorter non-credit courses.
The prime minister followed up this announcement with another on Aug. 20, pledging support for a new mining sector-skills training program in the Northwest Territories and in the Kitikmeot region of Nunavut. The 25-month program will train 400 Aboriginal participants in essential mining sector-skills, and is being delivered in 11 communities and on three mine sites. Following the training, six local employer partners, including three area mines, will place graduates into jobs.
These educational projects represent a clear win-win-win for Northerners seeking a better quality of life, for industries lacking skilled labour, and for Canadians who stand to benefit from the responsible extraction of these resources.
Once again, our prime minister is showing true leadership in bringing all of these parties to the table and forging a new and better future for Northerners, as well as a stronger and more united Canada.