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REF NO.: 66

SUBJECT: Report on Labrador development identifies opportunities, challenges
DATE: Nov. 4, 2011

             Memorial University’s Leslie Harris Centre of Regional Policy and Development has published Action Canada Papers on Labrador Mining, Aboriginal Governance and Muskrat Falls, a report containing three Labrador-related research papers.
            With significant investment being made into both mining and energy, there is incredible potential in the region; however, there are also real challenges that must be considered.
            The report is the result of collaboration with Action Canada, a leadership development organization. In preparation for an Action Canada event in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, the organization asked the Harris Centre to help identify major issues facing Labrador, and then assist in finding experts in those areas to prepare background notes. 
            The report includes papers dealing with the mining industry in Labrador, Aboriginal governance in Labrador and the possible development of the Lower Churchill hydroelectric development. The papers were prepared by Dr. Keith Storey, honorary research professor with Department of Geography;
Dr. Larry Felt, professor of sociology; and David Vardy, former clerk of the executive council of Newfoundland and Labrador.
            Dr. Keith Storey is a former head of the Department of Geography at Memorial University, and a recognized expert in planning for mining projects. Dr. Larry Felt has long experience working with Aboriginal groups in Labrador. And David Vardy, in addition to being a former clerk of the executive council, is also a former chair of the Public Utilities Board of Newfoundland and Labrador, the Crown agency responsible for regulating the generation and transmission of electricity (among other things) and a professional associate of the Harris Centre.
            Dr. Storey’s paper provides a comprehensive overview of mining activities and issues in Labrador, emphasizing the importance of continued market growth, especially in China, and cautions that labour shortages nationwide could hamper success.
            In his paper on Aboriginal governance, Dr. Felt outlines the evolution of Aboriginal governance for the Inuit, Innu, and the NunatuKavut. Dr. Felt identifies several challenges, including creating governance structures with reduced levels of human and fiscal resources, accommodating elders within the decision-making process and determining membership in the nations.
            Mr. Vardy’s report on the Lower Churchill Hydroelectric Project states that, in the current proposal submitted by Nalcor, the availability of power from the existing Upper Churchill project does not appear to have been taken into account. As well, the possibility of importing liquid natural gas or compressed natural gas has not been addressed.
            These papers are meant to provide the reader with facts and options surrounding three complex (and interrelated) issues currently facing the residents of Labrador, as well as the province of Newfoundland and Labrador as a whole. Any opinions expressed in this report are solely those of the independent authors, and not the Harris Centre.
            The Harris Centre is grateful to Action Canada for the opportunity to offer assistance with the project and share the results. Special thanks go to Cathy 
Beehan, the founding CEO of Action Canada, and Dr. Andrea Rose of Memorial University’s Faculty of Education.
            The report is available online at www.mun.ca/harriscentre/reports.
About the Leslie Harris Centre of Regional Policy and Development:
The Harris Centre is Memorial University’s hub for public policy and regional development issues. Linking Memorial researchers with groups all over Newfoundland and Labrador, the Harris Centre supports active community engagement throughout the research process.
Through work with all units at Memorial, the centre builds connections, encourages informed debate and supports collaboration, enhancing the university and the Province through mutually beneficial partnerships. More information about the Harris Centre can be found at www.mun.ca/harriscentre.
About Action Canada:
Each year, up to 20 outstanding Canadians (“Fellows”) are invited to join an 11-month leadership development and public policy program. The goals of the program are to enhance the Fellows’ leadership skills, enrich their understanding of Canada, and build a network whose members will support each other in making Canada the best country it can be. Action Canada was born in 2002 out of a vision to strengthen Canada’s future and is generously funded through private and public support. More information can be found about Action Canada at www.actioncanada.ca.  

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