A Prince Albert city councillor says both the province and Ottawa need to be part of an effort to kick start the forestry industry in northern Saskatchewan.
At a media announcement Monday morning, long time Prince Albert politician Don Cody announced he is seeking re-election in this fall’s municipal elections.
He said the forestry industry should be a big employer for Indigenous people in this part of the province and with a little help from the provincial and federal governments, it could be again.
“I think northern Saskatchewan is on the verge of becoming a good economic hub,” he said. “We’ve got the PAREDA (Prince Albert Regional Economic Development Authority) working now. We’ve got lots of bands out there that have wood and are prepared to help. And I think with all the bands and all the people in the north of Saskatchewan that I think are looking forward to some measure of development, I think we can do something.”
The Weyerhaeuser Pulp Mill, once a big employer in the region, has been closed for more than a decade.
Cody also said the provincial and federal governments need to do a better job of promoting the uranium industry and he has no doubt a proposed diamond mind in the Fort a la Corne area will be a big employer for Indigenous people.
High crime rates and safety in the city are sure to be issues in this fall’s municipal elections.
Cody said extreme poverty within Prince Albert’s Indigenous community is the number one reason behind crime and addictions in the city.
And he said it will take both the leaderships of Indigenous and non-Indigenous organizations working more closely together to make any progress on the issue.
“I think if we had Indigenous leaders, if we had all these leaders come to the table and let’s get together with a strategy, I think we could fight it (poverty). And fight it a lot better than we are and maybe make it a lot better for those people particularly. Because, they don’t have an easy time of it here.”
Cody, who turned 84 this year, was first elected in 1971 as an NDP MLA for Prince Albert.
He has also served as mayor of the city.
(PHOTO: Don Cody speaks to media Mondday morning as part of his announcement that he is seeking re-election on Prince Albert city council. Photo by Fraser Needham.)