It’s been a busy past few days for Premier Darrell Pasloski.
He and several members of his cabinet were in Ottawa this week holding meetings with their federal counterparts.
Pasloski met with Prime Minister Stephen Harper on Monday.
“I think that any time there’s an opportunity to talk to the prime minister, to update him as to what’s happening in the Yukon, is important,” he said.
Training Yukoners for jobs in the territory’s booming resource industry was the major topic.
“We’ve been working with the college and First Nations and the actual producing mines that have articulated exactly what jobs they need,” said Pasloski. “Training Yukoners for good paying jobs is something that will benefit, not only the Yukon, but it will benefit Canada as well.”
They also talked about the challenges that the Yukon is facing in terms of infrastructure. Issues with transportation, housing and land availability were all discussed, said Pasloski.
Energy is another big one.
With new mines coming online, the Yukon will need to double its generating capacity to keep up with demand.
One option is to run a transmission line to Skagway, Alaska, to take advantage of the potential West Creek hydro project.
“I updated him on what we’re doing on initiatives that we’re going through with Alaska right now to look at the possibility of an interconnection between southeast Alaska and Yukon, not only for energy but also for telecommunications,” said Pasloski.
The Yukon only has one fibre-optic line servicing the territory, so when it fails there is no backup to pick up the slack.
“I think that there’s a real opportunity to increase our economy, especially our knowledge-based economy, and support for all medium sized businesses, if we can provide more bandwidth, make it faster,” said Pasloski. “I’ve been told that we could increase our GDP between two-and-a-half and three per cent by finding ways to enhance bandwidth and speed and pricing.”
Pasloski left Harper with a parting gift, a copy of J.J. Van Bibber’s book, I Was Born Under a Spruce Tree.
“It’s truly inspiring as a snapshot of a great, unique time in Yukon history, so I was very honoured to present the prime minister with a copy of that book,” he said.
After the meeting with Harper, Pasloski travelled to Toronto to deliver a lecture for the Munk-Gordon Arctic Speaker Series on the territorial experience with devolution.
“It was a great opportunity to express and tell people in southern Canada a bit about the Yukon and more about the North,” said Pasloski.
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