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Candidate's Responses - Election 2023

As part of our commitment to keeping the Agrifood Sector, Food Security and Food Sovereignty on the NWT public agenda - we sent all 2023 election candidates 3 questions. The TAA knows there are lots of priorities to be addressed by our new government and we wanted to know where candidates stood on issues relating to the food sector.



QUESTION1: As you may know, south slave agriculture has been decimated through flooding and most recently wildfire. But they were not the only ones affected, climate change has had a large impact on many of our communities – both creating challenges and opportunities. Given this, what do you see are the top 3 priorities related to agriculture in the NWT over the next 4 years? With the competing priorities our next government will face, can you commit to prioritizing the agriculture sector?


QUESTION 2: Food insecurity is widespread in the NWT and needs a cross departmental, cross sector approach to impact it. How do you see yourself working with the Agrifood sector in response to improving food security?


QUESTION 3: The NWT historically has grown or produced food in every community. Every community also has food retailers, restaurants and distributors that struggle at the end of a long supply chain. How do you see your community more effectively participating in the food system to build resiliency?


We heard back from 14 candidates before the deadline and their answers are blow. It's a long read but a good read. One candidate responded after the deadline and their answers have not been included. A downloadable PDF is below and full text under that.



NWT Election questions 2023
.pdf
Download PDF • 286KB

Full text follows:


Agriculture, Agri-food and the Northwest Territories The Northwest Territories had an Agriculture Strategy that began in 2015 and ended in 2022 and was intended to position agriculture as a pillar of our economy and position local agricultural activity as a driver for increasing food security. The overarching goals of that strategy remain true today;

  • Build a relevant and viable agriculture industry

  • Support the safe, sustainable development of food production systems

  • Contribute to the sustainability of NWT communities

  • Encourage and support the transfer of food production skills

  • Increase availability of local food for northern residents

  • Reduce the cost of food for northern residents

We, the Territorial Agrifood Association are the non-profit sector organization that brings the interests of sector participants to the forefront, advocates for the agrifood sector as a whole in policy, planning and funding decisions and holds government accountable in their work towards these goals. Access to food, local opportunities in food, territorial food supply and distribution and food production are essential for a thriving NWT. We, the Territorial Agri-food Association, are ready and willing to participate and collaborate in this work with elected MLAs, Cabinet and the Premier. However, the cost of implementing agriculture and agrifood strategies needs to be prioritized and needs elected officials to champion sector development as a priority and provide direction to the GNWT. We asked the following questions of all MLA Candidates. Answers from those that responded within our 10 day time frame are included in order of receipt of response. Take note of who didn’t respond.


Nadine Delorme

Tu Nedhe-Wiilideh

I see the top 3 priorities our next government will face as climate change adaptation, socio-economic conditions, and infrastructure. I see the agricultural sector as vital to each of those priorities. I have the dream of creating a self-sustaining homestead one day. I have found unique barriers to making that happen economically and environmentally. The cost is high to build and the harsh climate and some topography is difficult to grow year-round. Local gardens and greenhouses are making progress but need recovery support when low yielding occurs due to natural causes. I shall commit to research and environmental assessment initiatives for the agricultural sector to find our potential. I shall search for partnerships across the globe to buy NWT products.


As mentioned, community gardens and greenhouses are making progress but need safeguards that protect but don’t impede progress. I shall promote the AgriFood sector and communities to network their potential to gain food security. Promoting community involvement and building partnerships are my goals for working with the AgriFood sector. I am interested in investigating patents for seed cultivation in NWT.

This is one of the core issues facing Tu Nedhe-Wiilideh, accessing food. I live in a fixed income household. We don’t have a working vehicle. We walk to the store for our food but by the time we get there, there is nothing available to buy that is on our grocery list. I would love access to the community garden/greenhouse and grow with my green thumb what we can’t buy. Communities shall need funding injections for agri-infrastructure. Having access to a “food terminal” or farmers market to trade my locally grown produce for items I can’t buy would be an awesome resource. Networking our potential together is vital for success!


Please contact me if you have any questions. I look forward to working towards a "fruitful" future for NWT!


Kate Reid

Great Slave

What I see as the top three priorities related to agriculture would be climate adaptation, interjurisdictional support (all levels of government), and promoting buy and grow local. Climate adaptation needs to include all residents and communities, and I am looking forward to seeing what proposed actions the GNWT wishes to take as it finalizes and publishes a climate risk and opportunities assessment in the next Assembly (they conducted a public engagement approximately a year ago). Food production must be a consideration; and flood/wildfire mapping will help assist growers plan for the best placements for agricultural operations.


I see NWT agriculture's status is currently small to mid-scale, hyperlocal businesses. I'd like to let you and your members know that it is a priority for me to listen to small businesses’ needs. Buy local isn’t just a slogan, it’s a Northern way of life. During the pandemic, we saw how fragile supply chains can be. Spending more locally means that we support our neighbours with our dollars as well as our kinship, helping to grow local businesses and jobs. Economies that produce more of their own goods and services are more sustainable and do a better job of meeting community needs. The GNWT seems to spend a lot of time chasing major projects exclusively and trying to grow territorial GDP without a lot of success. I think it’s time for a shift in focus that sees the GNWT investing more of its attention and resources to supporting and growing local businesses, where its efforts will have more of a direct positive payoff for NWT residents. This includes agriculture and agrifood, and I would love to build on promotional capacity, campaigns, and incentives for folks to continue to put more of their dollars in supporting NWT-grown/raised foods.


Providing NWT residents with the tools and resources to address their own needs for themselves should be a priority for the GNWT, particularly when it comes to food security. Actively supporting local growers to increase food production in their own communities could be a key way to both increase the availability of healthy, nutritious food and address the high costs associated with imported food. I will be happy to listen to the sector on what they say they need, and help advocate to the GNWT for those needs in terms of direct support, training and capacity building, an improved regulatory environment, and connections to other sectors such as transportation, distribution and retail. As you may have experienced, the GNWT is very good at telling and not listening. The role of government should be to support communities of all kinds (municipalities, NGOs, businesses, and so on) by paying attention to residents and being guided by their priorities, concerns and needs, and start to offer the kinds of programs and services that match those needs and priorities. If the current structure is not what NWT Agrifood believes is adequate, I'd be happy to hear what would best serve you, and act upon that.

Yellowknife, and the Great Slave riding within, has many kitchen garden/hobbyist growers (of which I include myself), as well as larger scale, farmer's market growers. A healthy amount of folks have also made the leap into small to mid-scale food production (Bush Order, Le Refuge, and several others). I think many of them have already made interconnections into our local grocers, and restaurants, but if there are incentives that the GNWT can provide that will assist these grassroot efforts and actively encourage more people to enter the sector. I'd like to hear more from all parties and work to make the environment for doing more locally even more feasible and attractive.


Shirley Allen

Nahendeh

- We need to address the monopoly of large grocery chains that are in smaller

northern communities (Northern Stores), this creates challenges for smaller

communities which limits their options to choose affordable, quality of healthy

foods to feed their families.

- The north needs to allow other competitive food start up shops to exist in smaller

communities.

- While I appreciate non-profits doing their best to create diversity for food and

goods and services, they need to not solely rely on the government for funding.

They can create small business and grow locally owned food and goods. If we have

more competitive market for food, prices may go down, I can support this as a

priority not solely support individual organizations that rely on government

funding.


-Like I mention in question 1, I will support locally owned small businesses who wish

to start up their own grocery stores (Edgson’s Produce, Egg farmers, etc).

-We need this is to be supported and taught in schools as part of science curriculum,

allow the option for agriculture as a career for the future. We also need more

programming that teaches these skills at the community level. Businesses to start up

selling plants and food. Non-profit organizations can lobby the government to

stipulate that large food chains (Co-op, Independent, Northern Stores, Walmart and

others) to shop locally grown plants and food.


Robert Hawkins

Yellowknife Centre

I can commit to championing and fostering a supportive & sustainable agriculture sector, that helps build opportunities for northerners to feed northerners. This may mean better policy or land opportunities, including the creation of markets that support front and back in this industry. As to the 3 areas, opportunity grants for start-up and training (skill development), and access to land and markets are all areas that will need to be focused on.

Create a community sustainability initiative, be it training, open public lands, or local & community greenhouses to help build sustainability. However not all food is grown, for example, pigs, turkeys or chickens may be the right answer in other locations. So it’s more than just growing potatoes and carrots.

Supporting access to public lands, and supporting a local initiative that gets people helping themselves as well as their communities.


Josh Campbell

Nahendeh

Well… it wasn’t just the South Slave that was impacted by climate change/floods and fires this past growing season. The top 3 priorities to grow Agriculture in the NWT should be to talk and get input from real Northern Farmers/Ranchers/and commercial harvesters in BC/Alberta.

Second, look at serious loan and economic levers for farmers/ranchers/ and growers so they can buy/loan the equipment they need to put in crops, plough dirt, and harvest crops. The current programs are for recreational gardeners, not real commercial or family farmers.

Third if the GNWT is serious about food Security, our legislation and view of farming is out of date.


Call Jackie Milne, and the NTFI folks who had to close down. We are barely passing the anti poverty report cards. How many GNWT employees have grown up on a farm, or have lived in the trapline? we need to look at farming like it’s done in northern BC and Alberta.

The NWT historically has grown food, but sadly in conjunction with the legacy of Residential Schools. That has a negative context that must be addressed by the GNWT. However, I’m inspired by the folks growing food in conjunction with their traditional Dene/Metis diets in the Dehcho, Tlicho and Akaitcho regions. We need a good look at the policies and programs that exist in our neighboring jurisdictions.


Caroline Wawzonek

Yellowknife South

A) Land availability

We need to settle outstanding land and self government claims. Some progress has been made

on the GNWT side for example in publishing the mandates and reviewing the core principles and

objectives. That progress needs to be capitalised upon urgently to see withdrawn lands be

resolved in favor of certainty and availability whether to the GNWT or Indigenous governments.

As well, land that is available to the GNWT needs to be expeditiously transferred to municipalities for zoning and development or otherwise made available for use directly from the GNWT to the public. We are in a Territory with vast expanses of land and yet struggle to capitalize on opportunities that require space.

B) Costs

We cannot tinker at the edges of high costs. We must systematically face long standing cost

drivers including electricity and heat. We must find a path off diesel as both the primary fuel in

many communities as well as the default back up for all communities. Diesel, and the fuel to truck it to the north, is expensive and that price is volatile making budgeting difficult. It is also a pollutant at a time when climate change is on our doorstep. We should work to ensure that the

Taltson project advances with prospective commercial buyers engaged but also have secondary

plans in the works whether as a backup to Taltson or so that our systems can find their redundancy on other forms of renewables. With better and more renewables available,

electrification of heating systems is then feasible, coupled with ongoing expansion of biomass.

C) Growth

We will need more growers and producers in particular but there is a labor shortage in all sectors

along the food value chain, including retail and restaurants.

Although our current labor market indicators suggest that the NWT is near “full employment,”

there are individuals who have removed themselves from the wage economy, for example

hunters and trappers, whose skills could be well suited to the seasonal nature of agriculture.


Similarly, there remains a disparity between the employment rates in regional centres compared

to small communities and again, agriculture may be an opportunity to provide flexible opportunities in less urban areas. In addition, we should continue working to connect awareness of the agri-food chain to high school students and new graduates including via mentorship and internship opportunities to show what the employment opportunities could look like. Finally, there should be increased connections between agri-food entrepreneurs and small businesses to business eco-system supports such as BDIC to support the development and health of agri-food entrepreneurship. Those connections exist but should be strengthened and solidified.


Funding priorities

Major challenges facing the agriculture sector are not unique to the sector therefore there should not be a need to compete with attention. As a government, we must see the similarities and overlaps in challenges as an opportunity to focus large-scale public dollars to resolve these issues, and as a way to focus our advocacy with both the Federal government as well as the attention of the public and prospective investors.

The responsibility for food security has shifted between the Departments of Industry, Tourism and Investment and Health and Social Services and then most recently back to ITI during the wildfire evacuations. The Ministers and Deputies of ITI, Health and Infrastructure (given their responsibility for highways and airports) along with relevant ADMs or Directors, need to commit to a single point of accountability for food security with appropriate officials from all three departments on a Food Security Task Force. That Task Force should have standing meetings

regularly with industry partners who are in a position to help improve food security including the

Agri Food Association as well as, for example, key supply chain partners like the airline industry

and NGOs such as Food Rescue, Food banks. Fortunately, a task force similar to this vision was

established during the August wildfire evacuations therefore could serve as the basis for a more expanded version going forward.


Challenges of transportation and energy exist in all communities, including Yellowknife. The

responsibility to overcome those challenges for food security should have a better single point of

government accountability as described above. In addition, in Yellowknife specifically, I see the

possibility for more local manufacturing and production. The GNWT can potentially do more to

support growth in this area by connecting local companies with trade opportunities that can help

inspire the possibility of eventual export and by identifying any regulations that need amendment

in order to more easily allow export sales.


Kieron Testart

Range Lake

Some of these have challenges that vary by region, and some of the challenges are felt across the whole of the Territory. As I see them, the top three priorities for agriculture in the northwest territories are addressing the effects of climate change, increasing the availability of land for agricultural activities, and increasing the supplies of locally grown food in each of the communities of the territory. As food insecurity and supply chain issues are two of the largest contributors to the growing cost of living for Northerners, I believe it is in our best interest to support the growth of the agricultural sector in the Territory.

We need to ensure all Northerners have access to nutritious and affordable food. Through supporting healthy local food supply we can improve the well-being of our residents and lower the cost of food. This will involve strengthening and expanding community-based food production, such as community gardens, as well as larger agricultural projects where they are feasible. I also want to provide funding for new sustainable Northern agriculture projects, such as reindeer herding, and work with federal regulators to expand access to country food.

I want to see an increase in support for community gardens, as well as the promotion of aquaculture, and examine ways of providing new sustainable agriculture projects for the North. This means expanding on existing funding programs and working with the Government of Canada to enrich the NNC subsidy, the Harvesters Support Grant and the Community Food Programs Fund, Nutrition Education Initiatives and the Food Security Research Grant. This means building strong partnerships with Indigenous Governments to ensure the success of these programs and take advantage of bilateral funding agreements to ensure that local food production is a priority for all three orders of government. We also can provide more incentives for innovation in the agricultural sector to encourage Northern knowledge holders to start up new technologies and techniques that will put the NWT on the leading-edge of circumpolar agriculture.


Julian Morse

Frame Lake

Yes! I am supportive of growing this sector.

For fear of reinventing the wheel, I would suggest that your organization knows its needs better than any MLA candidate, so one priority would be ensuring the Agrifood Association’s October 12, 2023 The Food System and Emergencies document be incorporated into an external review of the 2023 territorial fire response, to ensure that concerns from your sector are heard and incorporated into future emergency planning.

Flowing from the above point, it sounds like relocation of some agriculture activity will be necessary – engaging with the sector and providing assistance should be a priority, to get food production back up and running.

The NWT is beginning to pursue renewal of the knowledge economy here – I see huge potential for the South Slave to become a hub for high-latitude agriculture research and learning, and should be incorporated into this renewal. This could also help grow the sector and produce knowledge as to how it can be better incorporated into NWT food systems.


As an MLA, primarily as a liaison and advocate for the approach noted above, which I completely agree with. This sector has overlapping goals with climate change, health, and economic diversification initiatives, so should be incorporated into planning related to them, as well as the direct goal of increasing food security in the North. MLAs need to ensure funding is directed towards these initiatives, which is one of the primary ways we can help move the needle. I am also interested in engaging with the agrifood association and learning about legislative changes required to better facilitate local food support, distribution, and sales.

I have always felt that we simply need to do a better job of getting local food into grocery stores, where people primarily access food, and at competitive prices. As a consumer, this is my primary barrier to access to local food – I often don’t think to attend a farmer’s market, and have found produce at the farmer’s market to be too expensive for me to consume often.

Getting local food into grocery stores has started to happen in Yellowknife on a small scale – and I think is a great step forward. I think we really need to focus efforts on growing food in communities where it can be done at economically viable scales, and working on distribution. Community greenhouses are having positive impacts also, I am supportive of them where they are shown to increase access to healthy food. The bottom line is that resources are always limited, let’s ensure they are distributed to where they can have the most impact.

Generally speaking, I want to acknowledge that I’m not a subject matter expert here, and expect to rely on the advice of experts in all of the decision making I would do if elected to MLA. I am looking forward to the possibility of engaging with the Agrifood association more, and helping you achieve your goals.

Wally Schuman

Hay River South

Immediate evaluation of how GNWT has dealt with the catastrophic floods in Hay River and the impact on local producers.


On a Territorial level, revisit the agriculture policy framework to evaluate the implementation of the program and ensure we are on track to build the essential legislative infrastructure to support sector growth.


Develop a comprehensive plan that evaluates and recommends key pieces of infrastructure necessary to accelerate the sector’s growth and resilience.


Committing to Agrifood in the NWT has to be a priority. Beyond funding, the GNWT must and can support collaboration through leadership as advocates for the sector on every opportunity.


Would support a working group of cross sectional GNWT departments to work collaboratively to address the challenges and barriers that the sector is facing that limits growth and access.

The key is that each community and region evaluate what their strengths are in playing their role in building a resilient food system, and build on those. It is not about communities competing, but working collaboratively and collectively to achieve a vibrant and healthy food system.


Shauna Morgan

Yellowknife North

As the effect of climate change becomes more pronounced, and as the cost of transportation increases, the NWT needs to become more self-sufficient. Furthermore, reliance on long supply chains often reduces food nutrition. I believe there are several important ways to increase food security in the NWT—in addition to helping the market agriculture sector in the South Slave recover from flooding and fire, we need to revitalize the fishing industry, protect habitat for caribou and pass on respectful harvesting traditions to young people. In my riding, I will continue to support farmers markets, knowledge sharing and harvest events. I believe that the following priorities will help the agriculture sector in my riding and beyond:

Lower the price of electricity by reforming NTPC. The high cost of electricity makes modern growing techniques nearly cost prohibitive in the NWT. Growing indoors under lights has multiple benefits: it provides year round employment, and can be scaled through the territory.

More affordable housing. Agriculture has always been a labor intensive venture, and offering a living wage for agricultural work in the NWT is difficult. Lowering the cost of living will help more people participate in agriculture. 

Access to compost. Many parts of the NWT are plagued by low quality, even contaminated, soil. Access to affordable, abundant, high quality compost is paramount, and can incorporate waste streams from fishing and hunting.


I understand that along with traditional harvesting, fishing, hunting and foraging - activities that have sustained people from time immemorial - agriculture can play a key part in providing nutritious food to the residents of the NWT. If elected I want to continue to explore how more high value produce can be grown, and how agriculture can provide both employment and better health to the residents of the territory. 

Ultimately the only way we will achieve food security is to ensure all families have enough income to buy their own food, or money for gas to put in their snowmobile or boat to go get that moose or fish. That is why I would advocate for a Basic Income Guarantee in the NWT, to replace our current system of Income Assistance which is broken and disincentivizes people from seeking meaningful work.


The supply of wholesome nutritious food is paramount to the health of the citizens of the NWT. In the City of Yellowknife, many of the issues affecting agriculture are municipal: a lack of access to compost, access to water, and access to arable land. By leveraging my seven years on City Council, I hope to work collaboratively with the City of Yellowknife to address these issues.


Stacie Smith

Great Slave

3 Priorities related to Agriculture over the next 4 years are as follows;


Introduce new and re-establish infrastructure dedicated to food production.


Food Security- diversifying local production reducing the cost of food


Establish policies and regulation within the NWT that relate to all agrifood related endeavours.


With the heightened awareness of Climate change, and this past wildfire season, the question of food security has been prevalent. All priorities have to be finely balances amongst all the members of the Legislative assembly, I for one am conscious of how we take care of the land and will give back to it.


Partnering with the Agrifood sector and all governments in the north needs to occur. Food security is not just the responsibility of the GNWT but for everyone, this will address cost of food, as well as become an income generating endeavour but more importantly it can diversify the types of locally produced foods for the communities.


Yellowknife has a vast number of community Gardens and programming that is responsible for the fruitful farmers market each year. With the new zoning bylaws for the City of Yellowknife it allows for more agricultural ventures what needs to occur now is funding to develop the infrastructure for large scale, year-round growing operations.


Rocky Simpson

Hay River South

Yes.

1. Access to land

2. Markets

3. Financial supports


When we talk about food insecurity, we must also talk about cost of living. It is important that residents have access to foods that provide for a healthy diet while keeping the cost of those foods in check. Outside Yellowknife and regional centres, access to quality and reasonable priced foods is of great concern. It is here where government, communities, individuals, and retailers need to work together towards food availability and sustainability.


Not only do we need to look at producing food in communities, but we must also ensure a supply change that is efficient and timely to avoid higher costs and wastage. For many of the communities in the north, that is a real issue, and the next government must make the Mackenzie Valley Highway a priority to allow for freer and timely access to goods.


Katrina Nokelby

Great Slave

All industry in the north faces the same issues regardless of what business sphere they operate in. These include the unreliability and cost involved with the northern supply chain; the cost of power; labour shortages; and access to land. Given the impact these four issues have on all business in the north, tackling them must be a priority for the 20th Assembly. We must construct all-weather roads as barging and ice roads become less and less reliable. We must work on community, specific power installations that lessen our reliance on diesel as well as building transmission lines and expanding Talston’s capacity. We must retain and build our population and ensure that our young people stay in, or return to, the north by providing proper housing and living wages. We must move towards true reconciliation and settle the land claims once and for all. This will allow Indigenous governments to take proper control of their land and be able to make the decision on what type of industry operates there, I am sure given the many wonderful spinoffs of growing and farming including improved mental health, Agriculture will be an option for many. The accessibility to fresh food will be key if we hope to create a healthier NWT.

I envision the NWT moving towards self-sustainability by heavily investing in the agri-food sector.

The Federal Government officers significant funding for agriculture programs and it’s time we tap into them. I would like to see the GNWT develop an aggressive Agri-food Strategy that would ultimately lead to the growing of fresh food in every NWT community through a variety of seasonal gardens, greenhouses, and hydroponics. The agri-food sector is not just about farming but includes culinary festivals, restaurants, and a host of other spin-off industries that would add to the NWT’s tourism sector as well as improve the overall health and wellbeing of residents.

I fully commit to prioritizing the agriculture sector in the 20th Assembly.

In my 20 for the 20th Assembly, I have included the following two points:

Develop and implement an ambitious Agri-food Strategy to increase the availability of fresh food in all communities; and

Create a strategic plan to access the significant federal funding available under federal Food Security programs.


I believe the next Assembly must work closely with the Agri-food sector to ensure we are benefitting from the significant federal dollars available from Agriculture and Agri-food Canada. These include programs such as the new Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership (Sustainable CAP), a $3.5-billion, 5-year agreement between Canada and the provinces and territories to strengthen the competitiveness, innovation, and resiliency of the agriculture, agrifood and agri-products sector. By tapping into this funding it’s my hope that we could be producing fresh food in every community leading to improved health, decreased food prices, and alleviating some of our supply chain issues.

We should provide business incentives and tax breaks to those wanting to grow or create educational programs to help people create gardens in their yards. We could also create a “yard share” program where we match people with land with those living in apartments so that communal gardens can be created. We should provide funding for start-up equipment for communities and in schools such as hydroponic grow towers like the one Behchoko has already set up in their school. Even something as simple as a seed distribution program could lead to a significant increase in the amount of fresh food being grown in the north.

I would push to create a Minister Responsible for Food Security. We have parents begging strangers online to buy the very basics for their children. This is not right. Healthy foods should not cost more than food full of empty calories. Currently the responsibility for food security falls over two departments, ITI, where agriculture sits, and Health. Given the tendency of the GNWT to operate in silos, I would determine where it best makes sense to put agriculture and have it under one department only.

Last I would create an agri-food advisory board to the Minister Responsible and ensure that they have the ability to create programs and take action to improve the sector.


As I mentioned above, I want us to be growing fresh food in all 33 communities in the NWT. As we construct district heating systems for government buildings we could use some of that heat to add greenhouses onto community complexes. Instead of getting an arena out of a mine’s IBA<Indigenous organizations could ask for greenhouses. As well, we should be investing in hydroponics and gardens for all NWT communities and investigate where it makes sense to implement larger scale farms. Regions such as the Dehcho and the South Slave should see significant investment in agriculture with their more favourable climates and longer growing seasons, which are only going to lengthen with ongoing climate change.

We must build all=weather roads to ease the strain on our supply chain and reduce the costs of bringing in fresh food to communities. If we grow in the south and have an all-season road to the Sahtu and Inuvik, we could be distributing our own home grown food around the territory at a cheaper price. With low water levels and increasingly warmer winters, we can’t rely on barging and ice roads like we have in the past. All-weather roads are key to ensuring that we can continue to provide cheaper food in communities (as well, they provide construction and maintenance employment for years). As is ensuring low cost power to growers. When I was the Minister Responsible for Agriculture, power costs were the number one issue raised when I spoke to growers in Hay River. The expansion of the Talston power system would allow for larger-scale, cheaper farms to be constructed in the South Slave area, significantly reducing costs to transport from farms further south.


We must also build resiliency into our small northern airlines. During the pandemic, the Federal Government was only proposing to give money to regional carriers, such as Canadian North. It was through extensive lobbying efforts by myself and the Minister of Finance that led to flexibility for the GNWT to use our funding to support small carriers as well, ensuring the supply chain to northern communities stayed intact. This was an eye-opening to me as to the fragility of our distribution system and the need to ensure our northern airlines stay healthy and viable. I’s support pushing for an investment for our northern carriers from Canada.


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