Our Northern Vision

I was pleased to visit Churchill once again this past week. 

While I was in Churchill I took the opportunity to meet with community leaders and to visit throughout the community. 

Given the tremendous diversity of the community it is not surprising that I received a great deal of feedback on a variety of issues. These ranged from the proposal to ship oil through Churchill, to affordability, to proposals for a winter road to Nunavut. 

What was apparent was the degree to which Churchill residents, like other Northern Manitobans, have a real sense of the need for a Northern vision. That vision is very much rooted in the need for partnerships that recognize both the unique nature of our region and its tremendous potential. 

People in the North also recognize the need to balance any development with concern for the environment - as well as a true partnership with First Nations, Inuit and Metis peoples. 

It is clear that many people feel the Federal government has not been there as a partner on many of these issues. This has been particularly noticeable with the lack of investment on the most basic road, water and sewer, housing, health and education needs in the North. There has also been no commitment to initiatives such as the extension of all weather road access in Manitoba or the building of a winter road to Nunavut. 

With our tremendous diversity, and with our growing young population we have so much potential in the North. What we need is a Northern vision as a country that reflects what I hear when I talk to our people in our region. 

Canada's future lies in the North. It is time for a vision that truly recognizes this.