In recognition of Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in application for UNESCO World Heritage Site

I rise on behalf of the Liberal Party and the Official Opposition to also pay tribute to the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in First Nation and its ongoing leadership in working toward a UNESCO World Heritage designation for the Klondike.

A diverse community-based advisory committee was assembled for this project and is reflective of the significant economic opportunity that a UNESCO designation would present at a local and territorial level.

A UNESCO World Heritage Site is defined as, and I quote: “places on Earth that are of outstanding universal value to humanity and as such, have been inscribed on the World Heritage List to be protected for future generations to appreciate and enjoy.” I think we can all agree that the Klondike fits into this description alongside Kluane.

A UNESCO designation is a very rare opportunity, and even being considered is a tremendous honour. The Klondike has been on Canada’s tentative list since 2004. Mr. Speaker, 150 were also reviewed and whittled down to a mere 11. Four of these have subsequently gained UNESCO status. A designation would put the Klondike among such great icon locations as the pyramids in Egypt and the Grand Canyon. The interesting thing about this designation is it is a tribute to a thriving First Nation community existing and mutually benefitting with a thriving and proud placer miner community.

Having the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in take the lead on this project is a tremendous boost and shows just how significant this designation would be. The support that Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in has received comes from both our major private-sector industry associations, the Klondike Placers Miners’ Association and the Klondike Visitors Association, showing just how broad this support is.

This designation was identified as a key component as part of the regional planning and the implementation of the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in’s Final Agreement and I offer my personal support to their efforts. This designation, Mr. Speaker, would spur economic development and would help bolster tourism in our region and add to our already-strong community pride. The benefits of this designation are clear and the community support for this has never been stronger.