Within the heart of Canada lies Churchill, Manitoba, a small town that boasts both outstanding beauty and immense economic potential that is not being utilised by the Liberal government. The Port of Churchill is Canada’s only Arctic port, and it could be used to ship liquefied natural gas from the Athabasca oil sands in Alberta to areas of Europe and other regions of the world that are dependent on Russian fuel. The development of the Port of Churchill would bolster Canada’s economy by reducing its reliance on overseas fossil fuel imports, and it would create well-paying jobs for people living in the northern communities of Manitoba.
Currently, the railway line in Northern Manitoba that leads to the Port of Churchill is in dire need of repair due to increasing instances of flooding, washouts, and thawing permafrost. As a result, developers and the energy industry have been hampered in their efforts to develop this northern corridor, largely due to restrictive federal government policies. It is crucial to consider constructing a pipeline to minimise the risks associated with transporting oil through railway lines.
The citizens of Northern Manitoba, who live in conjunction with the land, are suffering in a stagnant economy that has made it impossible to develop and export our overabundance of natural resources. Canadian citizens cannot thrive and care for their environment when they are afflicted by a poor economic outlook. It is illogical for us to be importing foreign oil when we possess an abundance right here at home, waiting to be extracted and utilised. Canada has the opportunity to develop and utilise our natural resources while reducing our reliance on overseas imports in a sustainable way that preserves and supports our natural Canadian ecosystems.
The Port of Churchill is home to an incredible Arctic ecosystem that must be preserved and protected. To achieve economic prosperity while maintaining a thriving ecosystem, we must ensure that safeguards are in place to prevent and effectively contain oil spills in order to protect both people and the wildlife that rely on the watersheds. Rigorous environmental assessments will be needed, and both the Churchill community and environmental groups will need to be consulted.
The development of the port of Churchill into a bolstering economic corridor can be done in a sustainable fashion that consults the Indigenous communities living in and around the Churchill area. This is a chance for collaboration across the nation for the sake of our economy and the well-being of our citizens. Formal environmental protections at all levels of government must be considered. Large investments in infrastructure will be necessary to sustain a project of this magnitude. Permanent, long-term fixes are necessary instead of cost-cutting band-aid fixes.
The revitalization of the Port of Churchill will require collaboration from Indigenous communities, private industry, and the provincial and federal levels of government, as it will be a costly endeavour. A great deal of careful planning is necessary, as it will require immense investment and collaboration from all levels of government and private industry. In August 2022, the Manitoba provincial government and the federal government jointly promised $147.6 million over two years to upgrade the railway line. This example demonstrates the commitment the government of Manitoba has towards the progress and economic growth of northern Manitoba.
The creation of a pipeline and the development of the Port of Churchill benefit will not affect just the Canadian economy, but also neighbouring northern communities that reside in the Churchill area. Northern Indigenous communities are faced with astronomical food prices that are exasperated by the state of disrepair of their transport systems. Inoperable and inefficient tracks have resulted in a higher cost of living for people in the region, as there are no roads leading up to these communities. As a result, the only option for transporting goods to these areas is by rail or plane, with aerial transportation of food being much more costly. This rail line is the lifeline of northern Canada, providing the local population with essential resources that sustain their daily lives.
It is time that we invest in our future and strive to improve the quality of life of Northern Manitobans. Indigenous communities will play a leading role in the fate of the Port of Churchill. This is an opportunity for the government to answer the 92nd call to action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. None of this can be done with the burdensome, anti-energy policies that are currently in place under Trudeau’s Liberal government. Support the Conservative Party of Canada today to make the revitalization of the Port of Churchill a reality.
- Emily D.