Education and unemployment dominated conversation as mayors and councillors from 34 northern communities met in Prince Albert for the New North SANC Services annual general meeting.
Funding cuts to the Northern Teacher Education Program (NORTEP) and Northern Professional Access College (NORPAC), which helps train northern teachers and education administrators, was the biggest issue. Several attendees expressed concern that losing the program would have damaging long-term effects on northern communities.
“For our community, it (NORTEP) generated a lot of employment, a lot of employment activity that you need in a community to keep it healthy, to keep it going, to keep it thriving,” said Vincent Ahenakew, a high school principal and town councillor from Isle La Crosse.
Ahenakew graduated from NORTEP with a degree in education. He said the program generates an estimated $1.5 million in revenue for the local economy because it allows northern residents to fill positions permanently, which keeps that money in local communities.
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