A northern steering committee has been established to help co-ordinate and oversee the next steps and implementation of the Look North Report and Action Plan for Manitoba’s Northern Economy, Municipal Relations Minister Jeff Wharton announced in Flin Flon at a meeting with community and local business leaders.
“Look North represents the beginning of a northern-inspired movement to promote economic growth and change,” said Wharton. “The steering committee will lead the next phase of work to develop more detailed strategies and action plans to help unlock the tremendous economic potential that exists in this region.”
The new Look North Steering Committee is co-chaired by Onekanew Christian Sinclair of Opaskwayak Cree Nation and Chuck Davidson, president and CEO of the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce, and includes a lead member for each of the six priority areas identified in the action plan, as well as members at large. Six joint action groups will also be formed to help further develop strategies for action in the priority areas and monitor progress.
The minister noted work continues to advance on a new mineral development protocol with First Nations as part of the Look North initiative. Co-chairs Chief Ron Evans of Norway House Cree Nation, and Jim Downey, former Manitoba deputy premier and cabinet minister, have met with a number of leaders and representatives from First Nation communities and industry over the past few months.
An engagement session will be held on Jan. 16 in Winnipeg to build upon the emerging themes and tools identified by First Nations and industry to date, and inform the development and implementation of a framework that provides a mutually agreed upon process for Crown-Aboriginal consultation during all phases of mineral development, Wharton said.
“I’d like to thank the co-chairs of the mineral development protocol as well as all members of the new steering committee and joint action groups for their work on these important initiatives,” said Wharton.
The Look North Report and Action Plan for Manitoba’s Northern Economy was released on Oct. 20, 2017, outlining six priority areas including northern mineral and other resource potential, Indigenous engagement and partnerships, strategic infrastructure investment, housing challenges and opportunities, enterprise eco-system of support, and education, training and workforce development.