The territorial government sent a total of 29 executive and staff members to Vancouver earlier this week to participate in AME Roundup 2023, a gathering of those with interests in the mineral industry.

Nine members of the executive, 11 from the Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment (ITI), five from the Department of Infrastructure, two from the Department of Lands, one from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and one from the Department of Finance flew to the annual event, held this year at Vancouver Convention Centre East from Jan. 23-26, according to Drew Williams, ITI manager of public affairs and communications.

As of Thursday afternoon, the GNWT didn’t have an estimated cost of the excursion but ITI Minister Caroline Wawzonek, who also holds the Finance portfolio, said she would report back on that detail should that information be released.

Wawzonek said everyone in Vancouver on behalf of the GNWT was really mindful about how they spent money, and also noted that the feedback she received at the conference was really positive.

She attended a panel discussion on Monday to convey the message that the NWT is not only a place that is far away and expensive, but it possesses technology and innovation that people should discover and consider worthy of investment.

She also participated in a digital trust and cyber security meeting involving federal, provincial and territorial representatives.

Premier Caroline Cochrane was scheduled to meet with British Columbia Premier David Eby on Tuesday.

Monfwi MLA Jane Weyallon Armstrong was among those representing the Tlicho people and she had company from the Tlicho Government, including grand chief and former GNWT cabinet minister Jackson Lafferty.

“The Tlicho people are well represented at the conference,” Williams said. “Like many regional governments who are in attendance, the Tlicho Government recognizes the value of Roundup as an opportunity to meet and pursue partnerships with industry, particularly in the mining sector.”

According to its website, the conference provides a platform to allow attendees to seek opportunities in the mineral industry, exchange ideas and inspire new projects that supply materials for a climate-smart future.

The GNWT has faced criticism for the money devoted to the conference in the past. In 2020, the territorial government sent a contingent of 21 people with a budget of $210,000 for the ITI staff alone — the overall cost of the trip wasn’t disclosed at the time. In 2018, three MLAs declined to take part in the trip.

Kaicheng Xin

Kaicheng Xin is a Multimedia Journalist with NNSL Media. You can reach him at

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