My summer road tour began in our province’s Northeast. Our very first stop of the trip was with the Mayor of Smoky Lake Hank Holowaychuk and Reeve Smoky Lake County Craig Lukinuk, along with some of their council members. We chatted about schools (including a new H.A. Kostash school in Smoky Lake) and Capital Maintenance and Renewal (CMR) projects in the area.
Next, we were off to St. Paul where we had lunch with local elected officials, including a representative from the Saddle Lake First Nation and local elected officials. We stopped by the St. Paul’s UFO Landing Pad (a great project from Canada’s 1967 centennial) to announce CMR and Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP), funding for projects in the area. Among the projects was broadband internet for the local Saddle Lake Cree First Nation, which received federal government funding after being selected by the province. Between CMR and ICIP more than $10 million of project funding will support 68 jobs in and around St. Paul.
Back on the road, we travelled north to Bonnyville where we toured and announced the handover date for the Bonnyville Central School. We also announced more CMR and ICIP projects, which include renovations to heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems and upgrades to medical device reprocessing at the Bonnyville Healthcare Centre. Then we were down the highway to Cold Lake where we met up with MLA David Hanson and other local elected officials for dinner before calling it a night.
Day two brought us to 4 Wing Cold Lake for a tour of the Canadian Forces base. Seeing CF-18s up close and flying just a few thousand feet overhead was a definite highlight of the summer. Afterwards, we headed to Casino Dene for lunch with Chief Roger Marten. After our meeting we gathered outside the casino to highlight ICIP funding for local projects, including $322,058 for the Cold Lake First Nations Broadband Expansion.
A few hundred kilometers up the road, we arrived in Fort McMurray. We kicked things off with the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo and a round table breakfast with local MLAs and everyday residents. We also chatted with local radio, newspaper and TV journalists, and I discussed many of the projects underway in Fort McMurray, including recent improvements to the hospital and the newly opened Willow Square Continuing Care Centre. Mayor Don Scott and Council invited the Associated Minister of Red Tape and me to join members of municipal council to talk about our government’s ongoing work to reduce red tape at the provincial level.
We stopped at Earls for lunch with MLA Laila Goodridge after which we headed due south to Boyle for our final stop of the Northeast tour where we joined a village council meeting to talk about projects in the region. This was followed by coffee with local residents where frankly, we heard an earful.
In total on this leg our group visited 6 communities, made 17 stops for meetings, announcements, tours and events and resulted in 1,794 kilometres on the odometer.
Prasad Panda served as the Minister of Infrastructure from April 30, 2019 to June 21, 2022.