Northern development ministers talk housing, resource benefits

James
James McLeod
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Labrador Affairs minister Nick McGrath said it’s amazing how similar some of the issues facing Labrador are, compared with other Northern communities.

Nick McGrath

McGrath spoke to The Telegram from Toronto, on the way back from the Northern Development ministers’ forum in Fort McMurray this week.

“It was very interesting to go to Alberta, for example, and visit the oilsands,” McGrath said.

“And then in Saskatchewan and visit the uranium mines, and realize they have very similar problems and issues, and how they’re dealing with them.”

On the agenda this year in Alberta was a combination of housing issues, benefits agreements for resource development and communications issues.

McGrath said the big takeaway on housing — which is a huge problem in both Labrador West and in Goose Bay — is that nobody can fix it singlehandedly.

“No one entity — whether it be provincial government, municipal government or industry — is going to deal with the housing alone,” he said.

“It seems to me that right across the country we’ve realized that there has to be partnerships there and strong communication working together.”

McGrath said he was also really happy that the federal government is on board with issues around Northern development.

“One of the big things that’s a positive thing that we saw this year is we had the federal government sitting at the table this year,” he said.

“We were so pleased to have Minster (Bernard) Valcourt at the table. And not just sitting at the table and saying he’s there, but he was very much involved in the communications of what was happening over the three days.”

jmcleod@thetelegram.com

witter: TelegramJames

Organizations: Northern Development

Geographic location: Alberta, Toronto, Fort McMurray Saskatchewan Labrador West Goose Bay

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