Premiers meet to discuss pan-territorial priorities

WHITEHORSE, May 14 /CNW/ - The three territorial premiers met to discuss shared opportunities and interests at the annual Northern Premiers' Forum held in Yukon on May 13 and 14.

Yukon Premier Dennis Fentie, Northwest Territories Premier Floyd Roland and Nunavut Premier Eva Aariak are committed to working together under the Northern Cooperation Accord, renewed at last year's forum.

"Working collectively on issues of pan-territorial concern with Nunavut and the Northwest Territories continues to be a priority for Yukon," Fentie said. "Healthcare, environment and energy are a sampling of key issues we work together on to create common approaches to influence federal fiscal, environmental and social policy."

The forum agenda included discussions on healthy, sustainable communities; energy and the environment; education, research and training; tourism and marketing; and circumpolar issues.

"As premiers of Canada's three territories, our goal is to build a prosperous and sustainable North. Our forum provides an opportunity to give careful consideration to our common challenges and to initiate the collective effort needed to protect our environmental heritage, promote social and economic development, and enhance the significant potential of our region - something that we believe is in the best interest of all of Canada," Roland said.

"We believe northerners are in the best position to determine the North's priorities, such as infrastructure and economic development," Aariak added. "By ensuring healthy, sustainable communities we are creating a presence in the North that strengthens our country's sovereignty and ultimately benefits all Canadians."

While in Whitehorse, the premiers also met for the first time with the Canadian representatives of the Arctic Council Permanent Participants: Chief Bill Erasmus, international chair of the Arctic Athabaskan Council; Chief Joe Linklater, international chair of the Gwich'in Council International; and Duane Smith, president of the Inuit Circumpolar Council (Canada).

The premiers and leaders discussed their shared interests and ways to advance them at the circumpolar level.

For more information about the outcomes of the forum visit www.yukonpremier.ca.

The premiers next meet at the Western Premiers' Conference in Vancouver from June 14 to 16.

SOURCE Government of Yukon

For further information: For further information: Roxanne Vallevand, Cabinet Communications, Premier's Office, Government of Yukon, (867) 633-7949, roxanne.vallevand@gov.yk.ca; Drew Williams, Director, Communications, Premier's Office, Government of the NWT, (867) 669-2304, drew_williams@gov.nt.ca; Emily Woods, Press secretary, Premier's Office, Government of Nunavut, (867) 975-5059, ewoods@gov.nu.ca

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