Look North

Meet your Look North Steering Committee

The Look North Steering Committee was formed in December 2017 to support the implantation of the Look North Report and Action Plan. The Look North Steering Committee represents a cross-section of experience and expertise in northern economic issues and sectors. Read biographies of steering committee members below.



Chuck Davidson
Manitoba Chambers of Commerce

Chuck Davidson grew up in Northern Manitoba in both Flin Flon and Snow Lake, where he graduated high school. He graduated from Red River College's Creative Communications program in 1993 after majoring in journalism.

In May of 2013, the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce (MCC) hired Davidson as their President and CEO. MCC is the largest business organization in Manitoba, representing 71 local chambers and close to 10,000 businesses throughout the province. Under Chuck's leadership, MCC earned recognition as an accredited chamber of commerce with distinction.

Image of Chuck Davidson
"I am honoured to be part of the Look North process. It will continue to engage Northerners, with the goal of creating a long-term economic development strategy that will result in a more prosperous province for all Manitobans."

Prior to 2013, Chuck worked at the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce as the vice-president of policy and communications. He was responsible for the development of all communication products and media relations on behalf of the chamber, as well as the development of chamber policies and lobbying strategies on behalf of the business community.

Chuck currently sits on the board of directors for South Winnipeg Community Centre, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce Executives of Canada, the Canadian Chamber Accreditation Council and the Chamber of Commerce Group Insurance Plan.

Onekanew Christian Sinclair
Opaskwayak Cree Nation

Christian Sinclair is a member of the Opaskwayak Cree Nation (OCN). He graduated from Margaret Barbour Collegiate Institute (The Pas) in 1988 and served in the Canadian military from 1988 to 1995, including tours of duty in Cyprus (1990 Recon) and Somalia (1992-93 Special Forces).

Image of Christian Sinclair
"The north is where my heart lies, and I am personally committed to ensuring the success of the Look North strategy. I am confident we will create a model of success that communities and northerners can build on for future generations."

Christian was the co-founder of the Manitoba Indigenous Summer Games and general manager for the 2002 North American Indigenous Games (NAIG) in Winnipeg. The event was the most successful NAIG ever hosted and ended with a surplus of over $1.3 million, which was the basis for a scholarship program for Manitoba Aboriginal students that continues today.

In 2002, Christian began working in the corporate sector with aboriginal groups across Canada, focusing on corporate development and positioning for major natural resource projects related to hydro, mining, and oil and gas. That same year, he was named as one of Canada's Top 40 Under 40, a Caldwell Partners award. In 2013, Christian made a career change to work as an independent business advisor.

Christian has a lifelong commitment to the north and he sees the Look North strategy as a key to its future success.

Freda Lepine
Indigenous Engagement and Partnerships
Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak

Freda Lepine is a Cree Woman from Wabowden Manitoba, with roots from Cross Lake and Opasquiak. She has lived in the north most of her life. Prior to her retirement, Freda worked with the Manitoba government in various positions that dealt with local government development issues in 19 different communities.

Within six months of retiring, she went to work for Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak as a First Nation employment and training co-ordinator and a Northern Construction Trades Training Program mentor and coach, advocating for Aboriginal students to access training or jobs. In past summers, she has worked with students to get meaningful employment and gain work experience, using programs such as Commuter, Rangers, Welding Camps and Cultural Camps.

Sharing and networking with communities has always been Freda's passion. She says,

Image of Freda Lepine
"My vision for the north is always engaging our First Nations and northerners, with a focus on youth in all aspects of economic and entrepreneurship training and development. This is the way to build a stronger north and a stronger province."

Freda was honoured with the YWCA Woman of Distinction Award, and was also one of the first recipients of the Keep the Fires Burning Awards from Ka Ni Kanichihk.

Freda also volunteers on the board of the Northern Manitoba Mining Academy, and the Ka Gi Gay Danikobidan Committee at the College of Midwifery. She has also served on various advisory councils and committees with the University College of the North and the City of Thompson.

Jim Scott
Strategic Infrastructure Investment
University College of the North

Originally, from Canada's west coast, Jim Scott arrived in The Pas in 1991. Before moving to The Pas, Jim spent more than 20 years in newsrooms all over Western Canada. Looking to scale back a very busy life, he moved to The Pas as the station manager of the local radio station.

Right from the beginning, Jim saw the potential for a vibrant, healthy community and in 2008, he became the community's economic development officer.

Image of Jim Scott
"The potential of an economically strong north has been one of the best kept secrets in our country. That secret is about to be exposed and Look North is the link to provide the path we have all wanted to be on for many years."

Jim has been deeply involved in his community for many years. He is a past president of The Pas Rotary Club and past president of The Pas and District Chamber of Commerce. He was first elected to The Pas' town council in 2010, and after serving as deputy mayor for three years, he was elected mayor of The Pas in October 2014.

Jim is dedicated to working with partners, and he has developed an excellent relationship with the neighbouring Rural Municipality of Kelsey, as well as the Opaskwayak Cree Nation. Jim is the proud father of three children and an even prouder grandfather of five.

Jim believes that Look North is a perfect fit for northern Manitoba, and can take it where it needs to be.

Charlene Lafreniere
Housing Challenges and Opportunities
Thompson Indigenous Accord/University College of the North

Born and raised in Thompson, Charlene Lafreniere is a proud northern Indigenous woman and Thompsonite, who values her time with family and friends, especially her beautiful daughter Sage.

After graduating high school in Thompson, she continued her education and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Winnipeg. Charlene has been the Director of Institutional Advancement at the University College of the North (UCN) since September 2010. Previously, she was the executive director of the Thompson Neighborhood Renewal Corporation and Director of Justice at Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak.

Charlene was elected as a Thompson city councillor for two four-year terms in 2006 and again in 2010. She has chaired various standing committees and has been a driving force behind initiatives in the areas of education, housing, economic development, culture, community/regional planning and the Thompson Aboriginal Accord.

Image of Charlene Lafreniere
"We know that northern Manitoba has so much potential, and with Look North, we have the opportunity to create an economic playing field, with solutions and policies that support the north and its people."

Charlene was the Chairperson of the Thompson Urban Aboriginal Strategy for eight years, and co-chaired the National Urban Aboriginal Strategy Caucus for four years. She serves on the Aboriginal Advisory Committee to the RCMP Commanding Officer of Manitoba, as well as to the RCMP Commissioner of Canada. Charlene continues to participate on a number of working groups, committees and community boards. Charlene's accomplishments are the result of her hard work and dedication.

Becky Cianflone
Enterprise Eco-System of Support
Community Futures Greenstone

Becky Cianflone is a passionate new resident of northern Manitoba. Having grown up in a small Metis commercial fishing community on Lake Winnipeg, Becky understands the importance of community and the power of rural and northern people.

Image of Becky Cianflone
"I envision a north where all people have the capacity and support to achieve their full potential. I bring a passion for building entrepreneurial capacity and culture through various roles within the Community Futures program and the chamber. I'm excited to see the impact this process will have for northerners and for the entire province."

As a student, she was elected twice to leadership roles with the Red River College Students' Association. Later, as a chamber of commerce manager, Becky discovered a passion for supporting entrepreneurship, innovation and collaboration. This led to a career with Community Futures and eventually, the position of manager for Community Futures Greenstone, based in Flin Flon.

Becky was instrumental in founding the Infusion Entrepreneurship Conference, which recently won a Provincial Community Futures Innovation and Excellence Award. Under her direction, Greenstone also launched the BizKidz Program, to develop entrepreneurial skills and creative thinking in youth.

Becky is also involved with the Flin Flon and District Chamber of Commerce, Northern Manitoba Tourism Steering Committee, and the Kinette Club of Flin Flon. Along with husband Tony and their two small children, Becky shares an enthusiasm for the outdoors, and you can often find her four-wheel quadding or ice fishing.

Becky sees a north that is rich in resources, experience and opportunities, but she believes its greatest asset is its people.

Doug Lauvstad
Education, Training and Workforce Development 
University College of the North

Born and raised in The Pas, Doug graduated from Athabasca University in 2002, with a Masters of Business Administration degree. He joined University College of the North (UCN) in 1988 and held senior positions in executive management, administration, marketing and communications.

In 2007, Doug was seconded from his position as executive director of the campus at UCN in The Pas, to be the executive director of the Northern Manitoba Sector Council (NMSC). NMSC is a not-for-profit corporation representing northern Manitoba's major employers in the mining, forestry and energy sectors. Doug continued in his role with NMSC, until his appointment as president and vice-chancellor of UCN in 2017.

Image of Doug Lauvstad
"To achieve even a small measure of this potential, we must work together to create a shared vision of a prosperous, healthy northern Manitoba that enables growth in the region and empowers the people who live here. I am proud to be a part of Look North and look forward to working to contributing to a better future."

Doug is passionate about northern people and northern issues. He is widely recognized as a strong advocate for northern Manitoba's economic and social progress. His accomplishments are many, particularly in the areas of building educational and other programs that support "Northern People for Northern Jobs."

For Doug, the story of northern Manitoba is the tremendous potential of its land, and more importantly, its people.

Members at Large

Wally Daudrich
Lazy Bear Expeditions

Born in Manitoba, Wally has worked his entire adult life In Churchill's polar bear tour industry. He and his wife Dawn began building the one-of-a-kind Lazy Bear Lodge in the 1990's. It took Wally and Dawn ten years to finish building the lodge. Wally sees that as a testament to the value of hard work and persistence, qualities he says are common among the people who live and work in the far north.

Wally's company, Lazy Bear Expeditions, has become a fully integrated tour company. It employs up to 50 people, and every aspect of its tours provides the very best in local expertise and innovative ideas.

Image of Wally Daudrich
Wally says, "I can see the future through the lens of Look North. And I see positive growth, employing a diverse group of people, all contributing to Manitoba's growing economy."

Wally is president of the Churchill Beluga Whale Tour Operators Association. He is committed to sustainable tourism and preserving Churchill's wild nature. His passionate care for the abundance of Arctic wildlife are evident in every part of his lodge's operation.

Wally is also the owner/operator of Boreal Gardens Research, an Arctic greenhouse facility located just outside of Churchill. As Manitoba's most northern "farm", Boreal Gardens is the largest grower of fresh produce in greenhouse facilities in northern Manitoba.

Wally enjoys fishing, hunting, boating and working in the family greenhouse. He is an active proponent of traditional values and personal responsibility.

Colleen Smook
City of Thompson

Colleen Smook has resided in Thompson for 46 years. She has seven children, four of whom reside and work in Thompson. She is also a grandmother to 22 grandchildren.

Colleen has been a member of the Thompson Chamber of Commerce for over 17 years. She has also been a Thompson city councillor since 2014, and is currently mayor.

In addition to her political duties, Colleen's background includes owning some apartment blocks in the 1990's and being the co-owner of the McCreedy Campground.

Image of Colleen Smook
"As a city councillor for the Hub of the North, I'm here to serve and listen to everyone who makes Thompson their home, as well as those who work and visit in our community. I've had the privilege of getting to know a lot of people, both in Thompson and in the outlying communities, and I've been fortunate to work on issues at the local and provincial level."

Colleen is also actively involved with volunteering for many organizations and serving on numerous boards. She is proud of the spirit that Thompson residents have, and always looks forward to getting to know people better and changing the attitude of those few that don't have the spirit.

Ron D. Spence
Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation

Raised by his grandparents in the north, Ron D. Spence grew up hunting, fishing, trapping and gathering. He pursued a career in natural resources, wildlife and fish technology, parks, forest fire protection. Ron was a conservation officer for more than ten years and he has worked all over the north, including Churchill, Lynn Lake, Brochet and beyond.

Image of Ron D. Spence
"Let's build the north for a prosperous future. We must keep the North balanced culturally and economically."

Ron is the deputy chief for Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation, and has been in office for the past 12 years. His portfolios include environment, industry, mining, forestry, economic development, education, training, HR, justice and infrastructure.

Ron's vision for Manitoba's North is a region where First Nation communities have equal opportunity in future economic development.