Briefing on the Federal Electoral District of Labrador
Located in the easternmost province of Newfoundland and Labrador, the federal electoral district of Labrador covers a vast area of approximatively 293,336 square kilometers. The district spans from the Nain region, the northernmost community in Continental Canada, to the Churchill River in the north and from the Quebec border in the west to the Atlantic Ocean in the east. Labrador is known for its natural beauty, rich culture, and unique spirit, making it a remarkable place to call home.
The two largest population centres in the district are Happy Valley-Goose Bay and L'Anse-au-Clair. Happy Valley-Goose Bay is the largest town in Labrador, with a population of 8,109 people (2016 Census). It serves as the hub of the region, providing essential services such as healthcare, education, and commercial activities. L'Anse-au-Clair is a small coastal town located along the Strait of Belle Isle. It is the most eastern town in Labrador and is known for its scenic beauty, rich history and close proximity to the provinces of Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador.
Issues and Events
One of the significant events that took place in Labrador was the Voisey's Bay nickel mine negotiations between Vale Canada and the Innu Nation in 2019. Traditional land-use rights, employment, and revenue-sharing were the primary topics of discussion. Additionally, the district has faced challenges related to the impact of climate change, such as coastal erosion, sea-level rise, and more frequent and extreme weather conditions that contribute to challenges in critical sectors such as transportation, fisheries, agriculture and recreation.
The economy of Labrador is primarily driven by natural resources, including mining, forestry, fishing, and hydroelectricity. Vale's Voisey's Bay nickel mine is the largest employer in the district with approximately 900 employees, followed by the Iron Ore Company of Canada and the Muskrat Falls hydroelectricity project. The fishery industry is also a significant economic contributor. The Nunatsiavut Group of Companies is one of the leading private sector employers in the region, providing services, including transportation, construction, camp services, and retail.
Labrador is home to several significant natural landmarks, including the Torngat Mountains National Park Reserve, a protected wilderness area that covers 9,600 square kilometers and features breathtaking fjords, glaciers, and waterfalls. Another iconic natural feature is the Mealy Mountains National Park Reserve, which provides pristine wilderness spaces and cultural heritage experiences in the heart of southern Labrador. The Red Bay National Historic Site is also of significant importance as it provides insight into the history of Basque whaling and is one of the best-known and most significant underwater archaeological sites in North America.
Arts and Culture
Labrador is rich in culture and history, and the communities in the district host numerous cultural events throughout the year. Some of the events include the Snowfest Winter Carnival, the Them Days Labrador Storytelling Festival, the Labrador Creative Arts Festival, and the Salmon Festival. The Illusuak Cultural Centre and the Labrador Interpretation Centre are both essential institutions that celebrate the Inuit, Innu and Metis cultures and histories of Labrador.
During the 2021 federal election, the significant issues in the district were access to healthcare, transportation infrastructure, economic development, and climate change. The candidates for the district's member of parliament put forth their plans and vision to address these challenges, including infrastructure investment, skills training, and promoting sustainable energy development.
There are several essential community organizations in Labrador that play a vital role in the economic and social life of the district. The Labrador North Chamber of Commerce, the Nunatsiavut Group of Companies, the Labrador Friendship Centre, the Labrador West Status of Women Council, and the Labrador Creative Arts Festival Society all work to support the development and wellbeing of Labrador's communities.
Labrador is home to a rich diversity of cultures, including Indigenous groups such as the Inuit and Innu and non-Indigenous groups of diverse ancestry. Labrador's multicultural groups include the Labrador Friendship Centre, the Labrador Metis Nation, and the Association Francophone du Labrador.
In summary, the federal electoral district of Labrador, with its unique geography, natural beauty and cultural diversity, offers a remarkable and unforgettable experience for visitors. With its varied economic landscape and cultural institutions, it is a vibrant region that provides an exceptional quality of life for its residents.