Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I am pleased today to rise and speak to the issue of an energy policy in the Northwest Territories. It is something in which I have a particular interest in and some familiarity based on some experience I have had with the Northwest Territories Power Corporation. The issue of power generation and rates are of particular interest to our citizens, Mr. Speaker, as we are certainly in a high cost service area. Almost all aspects of our life, food, shelter, transportation and the traditional economy are impacted by this issue.
Mr. Speaker, an overall energy strategy is the foundation of the long-term prosperity that we all hope to build. There is a huge need for a broader approach to managing all our energy and utility needs, subsidies and costs and their impact on the environment. The review announced by the Minister and being conducted by Mr. Jim Robertson goes in the right direction, but it needs to go much further in addressing an overall energy strategy. In this respect, I was disappointed to hear recently that the Minister responsible for Finance is declining to take this kind of approach at this time.
We now have the opportunity in new energy initiatives like exporting power from the Taltson hydro station, Dogrib hydro initiatives and building new energy hydro capacity to feed the emerging diamond mines. These, along with chances to pipe natural gas into communities, are new opportunities for us.
I want to make it clear in regard to the Northwest Territories Power Corporation, Mr. Speaker, that any moves to dismantle it or sell it are wrong. The customers of the corporation are the ones who have paid for it. Mr. Speaker, this government as the steward and the keeper of this asset is obliged to take care in what it does with it. The corporation has built a formidable and effective management structure and performance record, Mr. Speaker. It has performed well in the 12 years that this government has owned it. It has paid off a $54 million long-term debt, it has provided dividends of over $30 million and supported a subsidy program that has benefited residents who need help the most, those in small communities.
It has achieved a team of workers who have two-years-and-plus counting zero lost time accident record, an enviable record in any utility. It has successfully implemented three energy utility related projects with aboriginal groups in the Northwest Territories. It has increased reliability and developed a workforce of over 50 percent Northerners. It has negotiated the painful, difficult, but I think practical separation with our neighbours in Nunavut.
It is the kind of investment and success that governments dream of with Crown corporations, Mr. Speaker, and I would ask for unanimous consent to conclude my statement.