National News

Western officials in Iqaluit for conference

By Lee-Anne Goodman, The Canadian Press

IQALUIT, Nunavut - Officials from six western provinces and territories, including three premiers, meet today to discuss domestic trade, labour mobility and the plight of northern communities in the face of a Canadian oil boom.

Alberta Premier Dave Hancock, N.W.T. Premier Bob McLeod and Yukon Premier Darrell Pasloski are in Iqaluit, Nunavut's capital city, at a western premier's conference hosted by Nunavut Premier Peter Taptuna.

Flooding kept away Manitoba's Greg Selinger and Saskatchewan's Brad Wall, while B.C. Premier Christy Clark had a scheduling conflict. Other provincial officials came in their place.

Hancock, speaking at a hotel overlooking Frobisher Bay — still rife with ice floes well into July — said consulting with First Nations is critical as the Arctic and other remote areas of Canada become energy powerhouses.

He added that land must be developed in a sustainable way and First Nations must be involved in the discussions.

Hancok said housing in rural communities and aboriginal health and child care are also on today's agenda.

_ Follow Lee-Anne Goodman on Twitter at @leeanne25

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