Strong local economies are the key to regional success

Bob Nault MP Weekly Column

THUNDER BAY – We are stronger when we work together. There is strength in numbers. Many sayings highlight what can truly be accomplished by looking at the bigger picture and our local economies provide a perfect example. Whether a municipality, city, or a First Nation, when these communities are provided with the tools to succeed, we all thrive. A successful economy is built in several ways; our local businesses play a very large role, but there are other factors as well

This month, while I have been on the road visiting various communities throughout the riding, I announced an investment of $94,500 for the Township of Ignace to develop an investment and capacity-building plan. This will empower Ignace to take charge of their economic future by investing in local priorities that support jobs, growth, and a strong economy. It will help maximize the community’s economic and tourism potential while support long-term growth and prosperity throughout the area.

This investment in the Township of Ignace will also help families and businesses benefit from future job creation, long-term growth and a strong economic outlook. The positive impacts of this investment will extend far beyond Ignace and ripple throughout the region as we continue making the North even stronger.

While in Red Lake, I had the opportunity to announce $110,850 in funding for the Red Lake Events Centre. The proposed multi-purpose facility would include a 300-seat theatre that would provide the community and surrounding area with much-needed event and performance space.

This investment highlights how the Government of Canada is supporting the creation and renovation of cultural spaces to promote better access to heritage and the arts for everyone. As Northerners, we know how vibrant and bright our culture is, and the Red Lake Events Centre will be a place where we can really showcase the North.

Equally as important to economic growth is ensuring that communities have access to both health and education services, so they too can help build their local economy. This past week, I was honoured to join Kasabonika Lake First Nation in celebrating the opening of their improved and expanded Health Care Centre, the Emily Anderson Memorial Menoyawin Health Centre.

The expansion to the existing Health Care Centre has significantly increased the size of the building. It will increase space for new additional residences, additional exam and emergency rooms and will also support an expanded range of health services and programs related to public health and dental care including children’s oral health. Indigenous Services Canada invested $13.9 million in the project, and the health centre will improve access to quality and culturally appropriate health services in the community, including mental wellness care.

While there, I also announce up to $41.2 million for a school improvement and construction project. This project will include renovations and additions to the existing school to accommodate Grades K4-6 students, and construction of a new 3,000 square metre school to accommodate approximately 180, Grade 7-12 students. In addition, improvements will be made to teacher accommodations in the community and construction is expected to begin in 2020.

While these investments directly affect Ignace, Red Lake, and Kasabonika Lake, the effects will continue to ripple throughout the riding, so all Northerners can benefit. Despite being sometime drastically separated by geography, we all have a part to play in making the North even stronger. We know our region is a great place to live, raise a family, and own a business, so let’s make sure we let the whole country know by showcasing all our successes.

Over the next few weeks, we will be taking a look back at the many investments this government has made to improve the lives of all northerners by investing in projects and infrastructure to modernise our Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities throughout the riding.

Bob Nault MP

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Bob Nault is the Member of Parliament for the riding of Kenora, where he serves 53 communities, including 42 First Nations. As one of the largest geographical ridings in the country, Kenora encompasses one third of Ontario’s land mass, and is approximately the same size as France. Bob was first elected in 1988 and ran successfully afterwards in 1993, 1997, and 2000, furthermore serving as the Member of Parliament for Kenora-Rainy River for over sixteen years. He was the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development from 1999-2003, and is a former Kenora City Councillor.