If there is one concept that has become central to the development in Northern Manitoba in recent years it has been that of partnerships.
Last week I had the opportunity to attend two events that reflected the degree to which partnerships have developed in Northern Manitoba.
On Friday I attended the official signing of the Joint Keeyask Development Agreement. This is an agreement signed by the four partner First Nations and Manitoba Hydro for the development of the Keeyask hydro dam. The four First Nations are the Fox Lake Cree Nation, the Tataskweyak Cree Nation, the War Lake First Nation and the York Factory First Nation.
The signing follows from the agreement between the Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation and Manitoba Hydro for the development of the Wuskwatim Generating Station. The principle is the same. No longer will Northern communities accept outsiders coming in to exploit Northern resources leaving only the environmental damage.
The agreement was the result of a great deal of work by all of the First Nations and came after significant debate. It is important to not only acknowledge but also respect the views of those that did not support the development.
Another key component to the development is the significant training that has accompanied the projects. It is really important to ensure that Northerners benefit from future job opportunities.
I also had the opportunity to speak to the annual assembly of the Manitoba Métis Federation (MMF) Thompson region in Thompson. I acknowledged the role the MMF is playing in areas ranging from training, to economic development to child welfare to housing.
The key with the MMF has been the degree to which it has been able to develop partnerships with both the federal and provincial governments to serve the needs of Métis people.
The federal government has been part of the development of partnerships in the area of training but could do much more.
What we really need is a comprehensive Northern development agreement that can provide an overall vision and support for the types of partnerships.
As MP for Churchill I will fight to support the growing number of partnerships that are dramatically changing Northern Manitoba.