Bob McLeod, a former industry minister who was appointed premier last month under the territory's cooperative style of government, has spent much of his career pushing for the Mackenzie Valley gas pipeline. His territory needs it now more than ever.
The government is near its federally imposed debt limit, facing an infrastructure crunch and is anxious for a deal on "devolution," which would hand province-like control over resources and land down from Ottawa.
In short: the NWT needs cash, and a massive pipeline would be a boon.
"We're in negotiations with Finance Canada. In the meantime, we're going to manage our way through this," NWT Finance Minister Michael Miltenberger said. "We're on the right side of 575. And we have enough flexibility left to make it through this fiscal year."
Of the debt, $380-million is paying itself off through the territorial housing and power corporation, he said, leaving the territory in an enviable position, if it had control over its resource revenue. A devolution deal would add $60-million to territorial coffers per year, a significant figure for a sprawling region of 43,000 people. "A borrowing limit is important, but devolution for us is really the next step in our political evolution," Mr. Miltenberger said...."