Good evening. I’d like to begin by acknowledging the presence of some very important people in the room tonight: Premier Taptuna, Minister Pederson, President Anablak, Mayor Ehaloak, Dr. Evalik

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Good evening.  I’d like to begin by acknowledging the presence of some very important people in the room tonight: Premier Taptuna, Minister Pederson, President Anablak, Mayor Ehaloak, Dr. Evalik,....distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen.

I’m honoured to have this opportunity to speak to you at the 2017 Kitikmeot Trade Show here in Cambridge Bay.  My name is Dennis Patterson and I am privileged to the Senator for Nunavut.

Since my appointment to the Senate in 2009, I have always been a fierce supporter of responsible development as a means of providing economic opportunities to Inuit and Nunavummiut.  It has been my belief that Inuit should be allowed to reap the maximum benefit of the lands they own and manage, and Crown lands; adapting the economy to balance strong economic growth with environmental protection.  Jobs are what Nunavut needs to support its growing population and the revenue from these economic opportunities and business ventures will go on to fund important social and cultural programs in the territory.

Under the visionary leadership of Kitikmeot Inuit Association President Stanley Anablak, Nunavut Resources Corporation President Dr. Charlie Evalik, Charlie Lyall and many other regional leaders, the Kitikmeot has displayed an innovative approach to economic growth. You set a shining example for other regions of Nunavut and for Canada. 

I had the good fortune of being present at the 2016 Nunavut Mining Symposium in Iqaluit where the KIA received the Organization Award for their outstanding contribution to balanced resource development. This was in recognition of their success in negotiating an impressive Inuit Impacts Benefits Agreement with TMAC Resources, including securing an ownership stake in the company in addition to the regular royalty payments. I am thrilled that TMAC has completed construction of their mill and soon will pour their first gold brick.

Stanley, both Charlies and company have also become fixtures on Parliament Hill where they consistently and tirelessly advocate for federal funding of an important nation-building project being proposed jointly by the NRC and the Government of Nunavut, with the support of the Government of the Northwest Territories.  I’m speaking, of course, of the Grays Bay Road and Port project. 

I’ll only touch on this project briefly as I know that Stanley will be sharing a more in-depth presentation with you, but I wanted to share with you my great enthusiasm for this project with you: The GBRP, once it receives regulatory approval, will permit more investment in the rich geology of the Slave geological province by allowing mining companies to have access to tidewater. This is what the visionary negotiators of the Nunavut land claim envisioned when they selected mineral rich lands in addition to traditional lands on the advice of expert geologists and when they negotiated a guaranteed share of royalties from resource developments whether they are on Inuit lands in Nunavut or not.

Many of those visionary leaders came from this region and not all of them are still with us: Bobby Kadlun, Simon Taipana, Jack Kupeuna and Alan Mahagak

I expect that MMG’s Izok Lake and High Lake project will be one of the first of many paying customers for this road and port, providing a new value added revenue stream for Kitikmeot Inuit on top of the royalties that will filter back to communities.

This nation-building project will not just benefit Nunavummiut.  It will provide a north to south supply route for three diamond mines in the NWT, whose winter ice road is threatened by climate change. It will provide ports for the navy and coast guard. It will reinforce sovereignty in the Arctic. And it will be the basis for the second phase, advocated by the GNWT, an all weather road from the end of the Ingraham Trail near YK to connect with GBPR at the Lupin Mine.

Surrounding provinces and territories will experience a boost to their economies due to increased interprovincial trade and job opportunities. 

I want you to know that there has been intense and I believe and hope highly effective lobbying in Ottawa in support of the GBPR. Your leaders have presented an exciting vision of this nation building project. They have my full support.

But we need a commitment from the federal government to help make this road a reality. The GN and KIA and the NRC have signaled their commitment to this project.

But Canada needs to contribute substantially to the cost of the road through their national infrastructure program – projects of national significance.

Personally, I believe that the GBRP ticks all the boxes of this new government’s stated priorities: it’s driven by Indigenous peoples; it helps communities further social initiatives with the money generated from Inuit Impact Benefit Agreements with companies and with money generated by user fees; and it provides Canada with a new deep-water port in the north that will, in turn, increase sovereignty and security in the Arctic. 

But the Kitikmeot is also leading the territory in other ways.  This region is home to two of Nunavut’s important Institutions of Public Government: the Nunavut Water Board in Gjoa Haven and the Nunavut Impact Review Board.

In fact, until recently, the Kitikmeot Region was the home of three of the critical IPGs. I do think it is unfortunate that the NPC decided to move its headquarters to Iqaluit, since the NUPPA requires the NPC to work in partnership with the NIRB in assessing proposed developments. The leaders who implemented the NLC envisioned these three critical IPGs, independent quasi judicial regulatory boards, being located alongside each other in this region, where NTI also has its lands office.

I believe NIRB, in particular, which has the challenge of dealing with social, economic and environmental issues around developments, has been a shining example of openness and transparency in Nunavut’s regulatory process.  Their staff have been ready and willing to assist proponents in navigating the in-depth process and their board works very hard to ensure that NIRB continues to be fair, balanced, and communicative in its approach to project proposals. This region, which also includes NTI's lands department, has built capable teams of experienced and educated Inuit and committed long term non Inuit who are doing very important work connected with managing the natural resources of Nunavut.

I also want to congratulate the Hamlet of Cambridge Bay in their effective campaign to host the Canada High Arctic Research Station. There were two other Nunavut communities which vied for the honour, as you may know. Cambridge Bay very effectively  lobbied for Cambridge Bay to be the most appropriate and welcoming location for CHARS. Cambridge Bay stood head and shoulders above its competitors. Ottawa was impressed that the facility would have strong community support as a good basis for doing northern research in the north and for the north. I want to single out ex Mayor Syd Glawson, Wilf Wilcox and Stephen King, who came to Ottawa to lobby for CHARS. The presentations they made in Ottawa, which I recently learned your current Assistant SAO had a lot to do with, wowed federal officials in Ottawa.

And that input from the community has leveraged a whole lot of wider benefits: the airport expansion and upgrade, new tank farm, hamlet office, KIA building, NAC daycare and residences and multiple housing units: an astonishing $460 million worth of capital improvements between 2012 – 2016.

Due to their hard work and vision, and the support of council and the community,we are witnessing the completion of a world-class research facility that will use traditional Inuit knowledge and scientific data to inform future Canadian Arctic policy. 

When Cambridge Bay lobbied for CHARS, they showed they cared about this facility and wanted it to benefit their community and Nunavut. I am very pleased that community involvement in the planning and construction and soon to be the turnover to Polar Knowledge Canada of this massive project has continued through the CHARS Steering Committee. I want to commend INAC for ensuring that this community had input into every step of the way. I want to particularly mention three INAC employees who deserve particular mention: Nick Xenos, Gina Lloyd and currently Mathew Hough for continuing and respecting that win win tradition.

Finally, I’d like to pay tribute to your former MP Leona Aglukkaq, a daughter of this region. She supported Cambridge Bay’s excellent bid and fought like a wolverine when number crunchers wanted to scale down the scope of the facility during deficit reduction exercises in 2012.

In closing, I’d like to say thank you to the Kitikmeot region and its leaders for being an inspiration and showing the rest of Nunavut the way forward.

Thank you.  Qujannamiik.

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