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Renewing Our Commitments to Labrador

Mr. Speaker, one area of our province that is receiving greater attention from our government is Labrador, a vast frontier of promise. We are working cooperatively with the Aboriginal people of Labrador and other Labradorians in an effort to ensure that Labradorians are fully engaged in the developments that lie ahead for the Big Land.

I already mentioned the Trans-Labrador Highway work and other major initiatives that will be proceeding this year in Labrador. We are also committing $325,000 to develop a comprehensive Labrador Transportation Strategy to address the range of challenges that Labradorians face. With the Trans-Labrador Highway open in southern Labrador, we will open a depot to enable summer and winter maintenance between Red Bay and Lodge Bay and also extend the Straits ferry service by an additional month.

We have provided funding of about $1.3 million to implement the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement, which came into effect on December 1, 2005.

We have also announced $1 million to commence an extension of the College of the North Atlantic campus at Happy Valley-Goose Bay, another $1 million to replace the facility at Labrador West, $1.2 million toward a long-term health care facility for Happy Valley-Goose Bay, $1.5 million for a new health centre in Labrador West, and additional funding for a new dialysis unit at Happy Valley-Goose Bay.

In light of the high rate of suicides in Aboriginal communities, the province and Health Canada have discussed cost-sharing a two-year, $240,000 suicide prevention initiative.

As part of our Poverty Reduction Strategy, we are providing $100,000 to expand the Labrador coastal air foodlift subsidy by a third, ensuring that residents can access nutritious food at a reasonable price. We are also providing Supreme Court circuit courts in Labrador coastal communities, expanding court security at Happy Valley-Goose Bay and Wabush, funding Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder assessments at the Labrador Correctional Centre and hiring a Senior Policy Analyst to research Aboriginal translation services.

We are investing $100,000 to fund the Destination Labrador tourism marketing campaign and committing a $1.9 million provincial contribution to establish a performance space in Happy Valley-Goose Bay.

Together, our investments in Labrador this year total $60 million.

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