(St. John’s, NL; April 8, 2014) Mr. Speaker, I rise in this Honourable House today to speak about how Newfoundland and Labrador is strategically positioned and poised to be the path to the Arctic, and how our government is exploring exciting opportunities and future development potential with Arctic activities for the province.

When you combine our Arctic peoples – the Inuit of Nunatsiavut region, with our geographic location, industrial infrastructure, knowledge and experience, our academic, research and development capacity, and world-class business community, it is clear that Newfoundland and Labrador is well positioned to be a significant player in any future developments in the Arctic.

Mr. Speaker, in the past few months the Department of Innovation, Business and Rural Development has taken great strides, in partnership with the Nunatsiavut Government, to create strategic alliances and forge new connections and partnerships. In this spirit, the department has participated in three major Arctic-focused conferences. Designed to gather key information about Arctic opportunities and challenges, and the potential role for our government in advancing these opportunities, we were pleased to participate in the Northern Lights Conference in Ottawa; the Arctic Technology Conference in Houston; and, the Arctic Oil and Gas Conference here in St. John’s.

Participation in these conferences provided opportunity to promote Newfoundland and Labrador and our strategic location to international shipping lanes and northern sea routes, accessible ports, unmatched strength in cold ocean research and development, and world-renowned expertise in Arctic-like conditions.

Newfoundland and Labrador is well positioned to benefit from the emerging opportunities in the Arctic – in particular, those that relate to supply and service, transportation, logistics, natural resources, as well as the development and commercialization of technologies supporting Arctic activity. There is tremendous interest from across Canada and the international community is taking notice.

Mr. Speaker, it is through cooperation and the sharing of ideas that we will become a stronger, more prosperous and diversified province, fully capable of taking advantage of the emerging opportunities in the Arctic.