Conservatives, NDP promise northerners housing, broadband internet

Parties diverge with NDP focus on climate change, Conservative focus on mineral exploration and mining

Both the Conservative and NDP platforms include pledges to improve housing and high-speed internet if they form the government after the Sept. 20 federal election. (Photo by Mélanie Ritchot)

By Mélanie Ritchot

The Conservatives and New Democratic Party are making big promises when it comes to housing and high-speed internet ahead of next month’s federal election.

The two parties have released their platforms for the Sept. 20 election, with some similarities that include reforming Nutrition North, although neither expands on what changes they would make.

The plans diverge in expected ways, with Conservatives highlighting an investment in a half-billion-dollar project that would open Nunavut’s mineral resources to exploration, while the NDP wants to get Canada off diesel for power generation.

Meanwhile, Nunavummiut wait to hear what the Liberal and Green parties are promising .

Conservative plan

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole unveiled a platform Monday that boasts money to build one million homes with the territories getting “their fair share” of that project, although the plan doesn’t get into regional numbers.

Instead of giving specifics, the Conservatives say they are “committed to putting a stop to federal paternalism and instead partnering with Indigenous communities and empowering Indigenous Peoples with the autonomy to meet their own housing needs.”

In terms of broadband connectivity, the party has laid out a plan to connect all Canadians to high-speed internet by 2025.

The Conservative plan diverges from the NDP’s with a focus on the Grays Bay Port and Road Project. It would connect southern Canada to a mineral-rich corridor that straddles the N.W.T. and Nunavut, and includes a 227-kilometre, all-season road and deepwater port at Grays Bay, located about 150 kilometres east of Kugluktuk.

The project is estimated to cost just under $500 million, according to a 2018 document released by the Nunavut government and Kitikmeot Inuit Association.

The Conservatives are also promising to fund the Kivalliq Hydro-Fibre Link, which would bring broadband internet and hydroelectricity to the region’s communities through a connection to Manitoba. The project is estimated to cost $1.6 billion, according to the project’s website.

This isn’t the only area the Conservatives are planning to allocate billions of dollars. The party also promises to spend $1 billion over five years on mental-health and drug-treatment programs tailored to Indigenous needs through land-based programs in Indigenous languages.

Other Nunavut-related points include letting territories set their borrowing limits with the federal government, money for mine training, working with the North to build an eco-tourism economy and developing community-based fisheries.

The NDP’s promises

The New Democratic Party promises 500,000 affordable housing units across the country over 10 years, with half of them complete within five. There aren’t any details about how many of these housing units would be allocated to the North.

Party Leader Jagmeet Singh unveiled the NDP platform last week, ahead of the election call.

For internet connectivity, the NDP would declare high-speed internet an essential service and ensure every Canadian has access to affordable, reliable high-speed broadband within four years. 

The NDP plan diverges from the Conservatives with a promise to fund community justice programs that focus on healing and restorative justice.

“New Democrats also believe that Inuit should have control over policing in their own communities, and we will allow the Inuit to independently oversee policing in Nunavut,” the plan states.

It says the party would also work with Inuit to develop a long-term strategy to recruit and retain Inuit and Inuktitut speakers to work in community safety roles. 

The NDP also plans to prioritize the fight against climate change with a target to power Canada with net-zero electricity by 2030.

To accomplish this, the party says it would invest in community-owned clean-energy projects to move off diesel.

Other Nunavut-related priorities in the NDP plan include getting Inuktitut and Inuinnaqtun listed on federal voting ballots — as the territory’s former MP, Mumilaaq Qaqqaq, advocated for — and creating a Northern Infrastructure Fund to “fast-track” projects. The plan isn’t specific about what projects would qualify.

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(24) Comments:

  1. Posted by Hi-qaluit on

    NDP will never be able to follow through on any promises or campaign policies. They will never have a majority government throughout the rest of Canada. The liberals policies are for the liberal party and not for all of the county unless the Liberals are doing there best to save face. And as for the Conservatives, on one likes there policies except for the liberals who will say they will change or stop conservatives polices and or taxes, but never do. To some it up, we will get the what we deserve on who we vote for so make sure your vote counts and good luck to all. We will need it.

  2. Posted by Decade on

    Every election they promised but always failed and they make us wait for a decade for their promises.

  3. Posted by Voter on

    I can’t trust a Cons promise as far as I can through The Tool.
    The Tool is already talking about making cuts to programs. No thank you.

  4. Posted by Promises on

    Every election, every party, promises housing, mental services, and affordable food. I truly hope they can make a difference on all three.

    The promise of unlimited, high-speed sounds nice but Starlink and Oneweb, who are private enterprises, will already provide that to Nunavut either this year or 2022. So that promise is hollow.

  5. Posted by Democracy on

    With democracy you don’t get what you want. It does not work that way. But if enough people get fed up with a person in office, they have a way to toss that person out.
    That’s the advantage of democracy, the person in office has a way out with his/her life and whatever they’ve managed to acquire.
    They don’t have to become oppressive to stay alive.
    Anything else is a bonus.

    • Posted by Hi-qaluit on

      Democracy, although I agree with you premise, I disagree on that you think we in Canada have a Democracy, we have a form of Socialism and party rule. I know I did not vote for JT, only his riding and a selected few other Canadians of the Liberal Party. I am guessing when I say this but most vote for their riding representatives and not JT. No matter how much we do or do not like JT, we do not get to Vote for or against JT. Democracy true to its basic from is, one person one vote. And most did not have a vote for JT, making it difficult voting him out. Specially if you want to vote for Liberal policies and not JT.

      • Posted by The Old Trapper on

        Canada has representative democracy under a parliamentary system. Yes there are certain socialist aspects to our society, but these are not all bad.
        Would you prefer to pay for your own fire protection to a private company or do you think that having one fire department per municipality paid for by community (and sometimes territorial) tax revenues serving everyone makes more sense?
        Fire, police, public education, health care, Canada Pension Plan, Old Age Security, Worker’s Compensation to name a few social services. Or is this Socialism? I would argue that these are social programs which directly benefit most people even if they don’t use the service, they are there if needed.
        Sure we could go for unbridled, unregulated, capitalism. But give that a good thought beforehand. Do we want Jeff Bezos, Bernard Arnault, Elon Musk, Bill Gates, and Mark Zuckerberg running the world? (well more than they do now). No thanks.

    • Posted by S on

      Democracy: government of the people, by the people, for the people.

      We do not have democracy in Canada, or in any other place that has elected governments. At best we have a form of complacent democracy that has enabled a plutocracy under the guise of socialism

      • Posted by Hi-qaluit on

        When you take from one person to give to another is socialism. We have a democratic socialism in Canada. Having the right to vote makes us a democracy but taking from the us in taxes and then passing it out our money to get our vote is socialism. So how much is enough when paying taxes.

  6. Posted by No need on

    Why promise items that are already in the making? High Speed Internet is already coming (Low Earth Orbit Satellites) and Fiber will be in Nunavut 2023-2024. There is no promise needed to make you look shiny.
    The only way to eliminate a housing shortage is to either educate the “children” and teenagers about birth control; start at the root.
    Your parties will not throw a couple of billions at Nunavut to build houses which cannot be maintained due to staff and fund shortages. After a few years, these houses will be overcrowded again, and the whole shit show starts again.

    Make promises that you can actually keep, make sure your party is completely behind you and make sure that you represent us well, fair and with respect.
    Good luck to all of you

    • Posted by Peter on

      The feds already throw a couple and a half billion at Nunavut, unfortunately it goes to the GN annually and that’s where our shortcomings happen, expensive contracting, no vision, incompetence, making things nearly impossible for Nunavut. For housing issues, the companies who get the extremely generous contracts are benefiting nicely ✈️, our GN can’t do much with 2.5 billion a year.

  7. Posted by Name withheld on

    GN spend so much on consultants it’s unbelievable!!!

    Look at how much CGS spent on Fibreoptic project before to link Greenland and Nunavut . Now they are switching to Northern Quebec project.

    Proper feasibility study should be done on how much they spend on the engineers before they spend anymore money on projects.

    • Posted by Name also withheld on

      I agree with you that the GN spends so much money on consultants. However, the reason they do hire consultants is to ensure the idea is economically or practically feasible.

      Maybe they didn’t move forward with a fiberline from Greenland to Nunavut is because the report the consultants provided didn’t find the project viable?

    • Posted by Consultants Inc. on

      The GN spends so much money on consultants because they don’t trust their own employes. Maybe that’s why it hasn’t bothered to negotiate a contract with the NEU.
      Of the 100 reports most recently tabled in the Legislative Assembly, how many were written by GN staff and how many were written by consultants? How many of those consultnts were southern firms? How many of them were potatoe companies? How many of those reports were written by Inuit consultants?

  8. Posted by eskimo joe on

    WW ll, it was all planned as the war was anticipated, all the toilet papers were counted and cold meal rations were manufactured and counted to determine how were needed if the war was to start. soon as the first gun was fired, all plans were thrown into the toilet. don’t make elections promises you cannot muster, create a bad imagine for the party…everything will depends on Ont MPs, if they do not like the ideas presented at the Hill, kiss them goodbye.

  9. Posted by Pain In The Groen on

    A modest proposal from the NDP. Con promising Fibre could woo some votes for the deplorables. I’d like to know what the Liberals are going to do, besides blowing smoke up Telesat and Bell’s derriere.

    • Posted by GN pain on

      There is already infrastructure funding available for fibre, the GN for whatever reason is not trying to get fibre instead looking at satellite internet.
      If the GN was smart it would of partnered with Nunavik and got southern Baffin connected to fibre.
      Maybe the leadership (Premier) doesn’t want Iqaluit and the other communities on Baffin connected before his region? Bit whatever it is the GN is missing the boat with fibre and the federal funding available for it.

  10. Posted by Thomas Aggark on

    basic human rights, which are inuit with education need to follow the nlca promises, single or not an inuk with the right education… the level of poverty also plays a role on daily lives of todays generation. drop outs, hunger, jobs, get right into it..

  11. Posted by Thomas Aggark on

    Nunavut is a small place, people who works multiple jobs that has hard time being family together, either by quitting, or just stopped interest in other jobs, companies should respect the privacy rights of inuit employees as this is their home.

  12. Posted by tooma on

    our generation isnt ready, many inuit need to become top jobs. i think they just built it just to make money. yea, it wasnt ready to be built, it is built for our generation, they can become who they are until they have, it should have been built..

  13. Posted by Crystal Clarity on

    My interest in politics has waned significantly but as I read this article it’s good to belong to the NDP. You’ll never get to form a government any time soon so you can promise the sky. Green is a non-starter, Bloq is regional and already had its hayday. The conservatives continue to be widely despised and basically we are left with the Liberals to clean up their act and perform like grown ups now. I often think about the housing issue in the north, lack of jobs, and cost of food and essentials etc….. It is time we start thinking about how to make people more self-sufficient through economic development instead of throwing more dollars into the social net which keeps people with their hand out all of their lives. Encourage and support economic development (yes mining will probably be a major one but there are many businesses and companies that servicee the miningindustry and put people to work) in the communities so people can get to work, build/buy their own homes, feed their families, pay the bills, etc…..We need fresh ideas to turn things in the right direction not another list of “we want”.

    • Posted by Harper jr on

      Don’t forget the Peoples party of Canada, our far right wing who spew racism, Canada has a growing problem with far right groups and this group seems to slowly be growing.
      We even have a candidate here in Nunavut.

  14. Posted by Northern Inuit on

    2015: I’m tired of the Conservative lies and corruption, I’m voting Liberal Sunny Days.
    2011: I’m tired of the Liberal lies and corruption, I’m voting Conservative.
    2006: Liberal Martin is a crook, let’s try Harper.
    2004: I trust Jack Layton but not quite enough, what do I do?

    2016: Trump will never win, but let’s watch and for the humour. reality tv president, will never happen but it makes for good tv……….

    Okay, have we learned anything?

  15. Posted by Truestory on

    Hmmmm…….How’s about Mary River Phase 2 expansion? Anyone going to fight for phase 2 expansion? Got Inuit workers working there and would like to keep their jobs. So would I, I like being an ELECTRICAL APPRENTICE at Mary River. Inuit B.I.M. employees are voters too. Think of Nunavut’s economy.


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