NWT Premier blasts Trudeau government and Arctic drilling moratorium

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Premier Bob McLeod Photo credit: CBC

“What works in the South doesn’t always work in the North”

North West Territory’s Premier Bob McLeod didn’t mince words in a statement on his territory posted to the governments website on Tuesday. McLeod says that policies are being imposed by Ottawa and Southern Canada are threatening their economic potential and work on Indigenous reconciliation.

The title of the statement was “Premier McLeod Issues Red Alert and Calls for Urgent National Debate on the Future of the Northwest Territories”. In it he states that the “dreams of northerners are dying as we see a re-emergence of colonialism.”

The Premier stated that “restrictions imposed on our vital energy and resource sector – 40 per cent of our economy and source of middle class jobs and incomes for many of our people – are driving companies away, and with that go the jobs that sustain healthy families and community life.”

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The Premier referred to the “unilateral decision by the federal government, made without consultation, to impose a moratorium on arctic offshore oil and gas development is but one example of our economic self-determination being thwarted by Ottawa.”

Mr.McLeod also referred many times to the progress made with Indigenous communities and governments, how fragile it was, how it’s currently in jeopardy. Specifically pointing to the devolution of responsibility for land and natural resources in 2014, with the decision to unconditionally share 25 per cent of resource revenues with North West Territory Indigenous governments.

Also in the statement, the Premier said that all decisions impacting the North should be made by the North. “Northerners, through their democratically elected government, need to have the power to determine their own fates and the practice of decisions being made by bureaucrats and governments in Ottawa must come to an end. Decisions about the North should be made in the North”.

“Policy makers need to understand that what works in the South doesn’t always work in the North before they make decisions that could stretch the social fabric of our communities thin,” said McLeod.

The Premier closed the statement with “The time is upon us to reset the course of the North. Meaningful reconciliation requires it, and the dream of a true north, strong and free, depends on it.”

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