For Immediate Release – January 29, 2015
The President and CEO of Nunatsiavut Group of Companies is calling on the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador to better support the aboriginal business community in Labrador.
James Thorbourne presented his perspective on the province’s need for change during a lunchtime presentation at Northern Exposure 2015: Labrador Opportunity Conference and Tradeshow being held this week in St. John’s.
Thorbourne says government needs to do more than just engage the aboriginal business community with respect to traditional knowledge.
“The part that’s missing is that we have tremendous business capacity, we have financing to do big projects, we have capacity to do work, and we have the resources to do it,” explained Thorbourne to CBC News. “It’s like we’re looked at as people to consult when you do a project, but not people you would actually engage to do it, and that’s bothersome.”
Thorbourne draws on an example of two Inuit Land Claim transportation infrastructure projects: the Labrador Marine Services and the Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk Highway in the Western Arctic. The North West Territories’ Department of Transportation was recognized for its inclusion of Aboriginal partnerships and capacity building, while the Newfoundland and Labrador government neglected to consider the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement in its procurement.
Thorbourne says Land Claims agreements are not things to avoid or consider irrelevant when doing business. Rather, Land Claims should be considered a tool kit or road map to economic prosperity in Labrador and Northern Regions.
Nunatsiavut Group of Companies
Ph: (709) 896-8505 ext. 30