Thank you, Mr. Speaker. If there's one constant in the modern economic history of the Northwest Territories, that is monopolies and foreign ownership, whether it be Northmart, Northview or Northwestel, or sometimes it's Chinese state-owned entities and American billionaires. However, Mr. Speaker, I believe that tide is starting to turn, and it is being led by our Indigenous-owned businesses.
It is often said that government should not be in the private sector and should not be in the business of business, and I believe that. However, there is an exception for our Indigenous governments. Built into many of their land claims are preferential contracting and procurement clauses. Our Indigenous development corporations, their private arms, are some of the largest private employers in the Northwest Territories. Much of our GDP flows out of this territory, and we fail to capture the resources. The more we can do to support Indigenous businesses in capturing the GDP, that is a good thing, Mr. Speaker.
However, Mr. Speaker, we have failed to do that. We presently do not have an Indigenous procurement policy. We, as a government, have often failed to capture and uphold those land-claim clauses. Federal contracting allows non-competitive processes for Aboriginal businesses. However, we have failed to lobby the feds to make sure such contracting follows those guidelines. Our internal free trade agreements make exceptions for Aboriginal businesses, and the protectionist inclinations of many of us in this House are limited due to those free trade agreements, but not for Aboriginal-owned businesses, Mr. Speaker. There is much room to grow, and hopefully, those Indigenous-owned businesses can capture more of our GDP.
Mr. Speaker, the last census data showed that 50 percent of Indigenous residents had a job compared to 80 percent of non-Indigenous residents. Our Indigenous development corporations and businesses naturally prioritize hiring Indigenous people. Additionally, when they are successful, they don't pack up their headquarters and move south because they are inherently in it to support Northerners and support Indigenous people.
Mr. Speaker, I will have questions for the Minister of Finance about how we can implement a proper Indigenous procurement policy to capture more of our GDP and grow our Indigenous businesses to truly have a northern economy for Northerners. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.