Building an Economy for the Future
> My vision is of a government that looks forward when setting its economic priorities. I see a territory where we look at responsible mining as one of many strong pillars in an economy based around innovation and progress. I envision a Northern University as a hub for forward-thinking research and entrepreneurship sparking economic development across the economic spectrum.
> I want to attract start-ups, geology companies, and research organizations to the North with smart economic policies and modern regulations. Then I want us to use smart incentives to keep them here —making our communities more dynamic. I believe we can leverage technology to take on things we see now as moonshots in the Northwest Territories. Do you think it would be amazing to build a manufacturing industry which can send snowmobile parts from Yellowknife to be 3D printed in Tulita? I do, and I think we can do it.
> Let’s create a territory where we think outside the box and build a strong economy that works for everyone, today, and for the future.
Growing the Building Retrofit Economy
i. Installing more efficient insulation and energy systems in existing buildings
> The North is warming faster than other parts of the world. The physical manifestations of this have been seen in increasing coastal erosion and melting permafrost. Yet creating a green economy is not just about doing our part for the environment on ideological grounds, it is the best, and only, choice economically. Creating jobs, reducing energy consumption, and saving costs on energy and logistics are necessary for the North's economic future.
> Investment in sustainable energy and green initiatives combined with investing in our existing infrastructure via a building retrofit economy will reduce emissions, but also reduces energy and transportation costs, increases sustainability and self-sufficiency, all while creating demand for products that can be produced by local industries.
> The GNWT's capital investments need to start applying evidence-based decision making and conduct complete economic analysis factoring the entire lifecycle of the infrastructure we build.
> For example, by retrofitting all buildings in the Northwest Territories to zero carbon, we save money, in addition to creating jobs (adding insulation, changing mechanical systems, adding on-site renewable energy generation).
> There is an economic case to retrofit all buildings to carbon neutrality before 2050. It is not a political argument, it is an economic argument that our government should get behind, and it comes at no cost because it pays for itself. The earlier it gets started, the better refined it can become and the more savings we can keep. Let’s stop shipping money outside of the territory to buy diesel, let’s keep our money here!
> We must put serious focus and effort into enabling retrofit programs, which are proven to generate economic activity, significant cost savings, and GHG reductions, not to mention increase quality of life by reducing the cost of utilities and improving housing conditions, especially in the communities.
Attracting Workers and Companies to the North
i. Increasing Immigration
ii. Expanded efforts/incentives to convince new Canadians to live in NWT
iii. Promotion as a destination for other first-generation Canadians
iv. Incentives for remote workers to base themselves in NWT
v. Promotion of remote industry, technology, entrepreneurship in NWT
> The world is full of workers who don’t need to be in a traditional office 9-5, it is also full of companies who can have a satellite corporate office virtually anywhere. Federal funding for Northern workers makes the allocation of funding to incentive programs a win-win for Yellowknife and for those who otherwise would not have considered the Territories as a viable option for relocation.
> Whitehorse was recently named the top city in Canada for entrepreneurs, Yellowknife didn’t make the list. With some smart government policy, I want to beat Whitehorse. The Northwest Territories most valuable resource is our people. Literally, each resident of the Northwest Territories is equal to roughly $35,000 in federal transfer payments.
> Encouraging healthy and working people to move to the North furthers GNWT revenue as those people pay their taxes. New residents promote increased tourism revenue as they bring their friends and family to visit. There are individuals and companies willing to relocate when the incentives are right.
> A remote workers incentive policy providing free or discounted office space to individuals willing to relocate pays for itself, and there is no economic downside for the territory. The GNWT must commit to improving marketing of the North as an exciting land of possibilities for new talent in Canada.
> A greater population is needed to curb declining population but also increases economic activity and the allocation of funds from the federal government. However, according to Statistics Canada, while the population of Nunavut has grown by 73% between 1991 and 2018 and Yukon by 40% over the same span, the Northwest Territories population has increased by just 15% in the same amount of time.
> A more concerted effort must be made to attract more people to the Northwest Territories to widen our tax base and increase economic activity. There is simply no reason the GNWT should not be aggressively marketing and offering incentives for people to come North and Work.
> Look at programs like “Win Your Space YK”, and their list of semi-finalists, there is a healthy amount of new Northerners wanting to run their own businesses, and willing to take training and support to do it.
Building a Polytechnic University in Yellowknife
> Establishing a Polytechnic University in Yellowknife is a key step in growing an economy that is diverse, innovative and self-sustaining. I will advocate to build a campus that will serve as a cultural hub for the North.
> The GNWT's ongoing discussion around the University suffers from a lack of vision. To solve our existing issues, we can't just re-brand Aurora College — we need to do things differently. We need a physical campus located in Yellowknife, and it should be arms-length from GNWT interference. The new university needs room to grow into an institution that attracts students from around the world. International students, who are then guaranteed post-graduate visas and a path to permanent residency, will bring in tuition money and ensure that the university funds itself.
> A polytechnic education combines the practical approach of a college education and the depth of study usually associated with a university program. For students, the competitive advantage of a polytechnic institution is the seamless transition from education to employment, fostered by experiential learning opportunities.
> We need a university that trains nurses and socials workers in ways of healing that are appropriate and specific to our communities. We need programs focused on skills such as communications, graphic design and grant-writing — which put people to work immediately within Northern organizations. Lastly we need trades programs to focus on green construction and retrofit techniques that are designed specifically for our infrastructure and climate.