Whitehorse Daily Star

Image title

Photo by Whitehorse Star

Premier Sandy Silver

Silver stresses building an economy as partners

Premier Sandy Silver continued this morning with the theme of building stronger economies across the North through partnerships.

By Chuck Tobin on February 14, 2017

Premier Sandy Silver continued this morning with the theme of building stronger economies across the North through partnerships.

The premier was addressing a room full of representatives from the private and public sectors attending the first Arctic Indigenous Investment Conference at the Coast High Country Inn.

“This conference showcases the incredible breadth of First Nations businesses operating across the North,” Silver told a healthy audience gathered to kick off day two.

“And while First Nations involvement in the resource industry is certainly the obvious example here in Yukon, First Nations businesses are active drivers in all sectors, from aviation to manufacturing to housing.”

This morning’s emcee, Shirlee Frost from the Yukon First Nation Culture and Tourism Association, told the audience she thought Monday was a successful day, particularly for the opportunities to network with others.

There were talks about development corporations owned by First Nations, and about how private-sector investment can impact directly on indigenous communities.

Alaska Lieutenant-Governor Byron Mallot was to speak about about transboundary partnerships and advancing Arctic Economic Development. but his airplane was grounded in Juneau because of weather.

There was a private meeting by invitation only for indigenous development corporations to discuss the establishment of a pan-Arctic business council. The meetings were through the conference.

Brent Bergeron of Goldcorp., the international gold-producing giant who moved into the Yukon last summer with plans to build the Coffee gold project south of Dawson City, spoke about corporate affairs and sustainability in his luncheon address Monday.

Today’s schedule was to present much of the same, along with the opening of the Trade Show and Arctic Indigenous Artisan Market next door at the Yukon Convention Centre.

Adjunct professor Frank Brown from Simon Fraser’s resource and environmental management department, and a member of the Heiltsuk First Nation in Bella Bella, B.C., was to speak about sustainable indigenous ecotourism and community empowerment.

Phil Timpany of the Bear Cave Mountain Eco Adventures, the high-end tourism business that provide grizzly bear viewing opportunities in the winter as the bear’s fish along the Fishing Branch River in the traditional territory of the Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation, was to address the audience.

So too was Kylik Kisoun-Taylor, co-owner of Inuvik’s Tundra Tours. His subject matter, “If I knew then what I know now! From a cell phone to international business.”

Silver said partnership and collaboration with First Nations and their business interests are cornerstones to success and diversifying the territory’s economy.

Silver spoke of the memorandum of understanding signed last month with the chiefs of the territories 11 self-governing First Nation to work together on facilitating mining initiatives.

The recently elected Liberal government will continue to advance the responsible and respectful development of the Yukon’s natural resources on other fronts as well, said the premier.

“Our government is committed to seeing First Nations businesses, development corporations and organizations build capacity and further projects,” Silver told the audience.

“The level of First Nations participation in the territorial economy – and certainly, in economies across the North – is truly impressive.

“From the well-known success stories at Northerm and Air North, to the growing tourism industry, to community-focused initiatives like fire management and housing, First Nations business is continually growing and is guaranteed to become a dominant facet of the territorial economy.”

Comments (6)

Up 0 Down 0

Lilly S. on Feb 20, 2017 at 5:25 pm

I voted for the Liberals for the first time last election and I'm glad I did. They want to build a co-operative economy not walls and barriers between people who in the end are all trying to prove the same thing.

Up 14 Down 3

To Born & Raised and Willmont... on Feb 17, 2017 at 3:44 pm

Born & Raised - let's be clear the success of Air North goes to Joe Sparling not Vuntut Gwitchin. If it were not for Joe's keen business sense the company would have long ago been nothing more than a bush flying enterprise.

Willmont - get your head out of that dark place you have it in

Up 10 Down 17

Willmont on Feb 15, 2017 at 5:47 pm

Your Liberals making it happen.

Up 17 Down 20

Born&Raised on Feb 15, 2017 at 8:34 am

Dev corps are more interested in becoming non-controlling minority share holders, and investors in Yukon private sector businesses, than they are in acquiring wholly-owned subsidiaries (think Air North/CastleRock).

Having more capital invested in the Yukon's top companies will allow them to grow, as Air North has over the last decade, larger than previously imagined.

Air North's website:
“The investment from the Vuntut Gwitchin made it possible a few years later, in 2002, for us to enter a whole new era: we purchased two Boeing 737 jets.”

Up 40 Down 14

jc on Feb 14, 2017 at 4:36 pm

If the FN are involved in so much business, why are they still getting so many billions of dollars a year - with increases every year of tax payers money? Why can't they put some of that profit back to the tax paying contributors purse? And why can't they do something for their own people like those that wander around Whitehorse every day doing nothing but look for drink and drugs. And how about they do something to rehabilitate those who spend most of their lives in the jail on the hill and half way houses. So, Mister Silvers, if you are truly trying to build partnerships with FN, get them involved in these things like partners should. And share their profits with those who have taken care of their needs in the past.

Up 64 Down 21

Nile on Feb 14, 2017 at 2:57 pm

How is the private sector supposed to compete with FN corps. If they lose money the gov bails them out. I'm glad to see them move towards the 20th century but it may be holding the Yukon back from joining the 21st.

Add your comments or reply via Twitter @whitehorsestar

In order to encourage thoughtful and responsible discussion, website comments will not be visible until a moderator approves them. Please add comments judiciously and refrain from maligning any individual or institution. Read about our user comment and privacy policies.

Your name and email address are required before your comment is posted. Otherwise, your comment will not be posted.