Arctic Yearbook 2014 - Page 223

  223   14. NWT citizens have been discussing the idea of a natural resource wealth fund for almost a decade. For example, Yellowknife based civil society organization Alternatatives North has advocated for setting up a wealth fund since they commissioned the Pembina Institute to produce a policy report on the topic in 2006 (Taylor 2006). The organization also provided submissions during the GNWT’s 2013 budget consultation process, and actively participated in the Action Canada task force public dialogues (Alternatives North 2013). 15. The current consolidated debt level in the GNWT and twenty-five public agencies is $337.9 million. 16. Action Canada is a national fellowship program for promising Canadians, selecting between 15-20 young Canadian professionals each year. The program enhances Fellows’ leadership skills, broadens their understanding of Canada and its policy choices, and builds an exceptional network of leaders for our future. Throughout the year Fellows work in teams on public policy projects related to an annual theme. The 2013-2014 theme focussed on Canada’s North. 17. The roundtable was hosted by our public policy research team: Jesika Briones, Sarah Daitch, Andre Dias, Julia Fan Li, Martin Lajoie, and Alyssa Schwann. 18. In November 2013, the authors facilitated a public dialogue, held in Vancouver BC, to discuss the future potential of the NWT’s Heritage Fund. The session brought together natural resource wealth fund directors, sovereign wealth experts, and NWT Members of Legislative Assembly (MLAs), to understand best practices in fund management and discuss how experiences in other jurisdictions might inform the development of the Fund. The authors further engaged with individuals and groups, through interviews and consultations including: Sovereign Wealth Fund experts, members of the non-renewable resource industry, the GNWT, federal and local government officials, Aboriginal government, academics in the NWT and other parts of Canada, non-profit organizations, representatives from Norway’s Ministry of Finance, and leading financial journalists. 19. The purpose of the dialogue was to share the research and hear from the public; to discuss with the public how governance and investment of the Fund could best benefit the NWT and its future generations; and to discuss the important role of the public in the process. The event was held at the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre in Yellowknife on May 27th 2014. 20. As defined by the Santiago Principles (International Working Group of Sovereign Wealth Funds 2008). 21. It is important to note that the Alaska Permanent Fund model may not be applicable in the NWT, as the benefit provided in Alaska is in the form of a citizen dividend, or cash to residents. However, Alaska provides a strong example of a transparent and accountable fund (Revenue Watch Institute & Vale Columbia Center 2013). Daitch, Schwann, Bauer, Dias & Fan Li