Party leaders tell premier plans for Nunavut if elected

Justin Trudeau the only leader who hasn’t responded to Joe Savikataaq’s letter

Premier Joe Savikataaq wrote letters to each major political party leader in Canada on Aug. 16 to ask how they would support Nunavut if in power. (Photo by Mélanie Ritchot)

By Mélanie Ritchot

Nunavut’s premier has received responses to letters he sent questioning political parties’ priorities for Nunavut in the quickly approaching election from all leaders except for Justin Trudeau.

Joe Savikataaq sent letters to the Liberal, Green, New Democratic and Conservative party leaders on Aug. 16, asking them to commit to addressing Nunavut’s gaps in infrastructure, health services and housing.

“Nunavut is not even at the starting line,” he wrote.

“In worst-case scenario [the housing crisis] leads to domestic violence and abuse,” he continues in the letter, calling on the leaders to commit to improving the territory’s housing situation.

In terms of infrastructure, Savikataaq says Nunavut needs investments in transportation, airports, ports, highways, telecommunications, energy, and more from the next government.

Improving the health-care system for Nunavummiut is critical for the next leadership, Savikataaq writes, citing a lack of access to adequate immediate health care, mental health and addiction supports, and understaffing issues.

As of Wednesday, Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau had not responded to the letter, Savikataaq said in the legislative assembly.

Adam Arreak Lightstone is the MLA for Iqaluit-Manirajak. (Photo by Mélanie Ritchot)

He made the letters and responses public later that day, after MLA Adam Arreak Lightstone called on him to be transparent about the correspondence in the legislature.

“As the federal election will be held [Sept. 20] it’s very important that we know where the major federal party leaders stand on issues of concern to Nunavut and the North,” Lightstone said.

Erin O’Toole, the leader of the Conservative party, responded on Sept. 8 and gave specifics on how a Conservative government would “improve life for Nunavummiut.”

To address the housing crisis, O’Toole said he would get Nunavummiut their “fair share” of federal housing money and would support doubling the northern residents tax deduction.

O’Toole gave specific examples of infrastructure projects his government would fund, including the Grays Port Road Project and the Kivalliq Hydro-Fibre Line. The Conservatives also promise to connect all Canadians to high-speed internet by 2025.

He also committed to improving health-care services and funding, as well as improving the Nutrition North program to make food more affordable.

Jagmeet Singh, leader of the New Democratic Party, also responded, although the letter is not dated.

Singh also committed to funding infrastructure projects in the North.

For housing, he committed to addressing the “mould crisis” and said his government would “help create jobs by ensuring communities have resources to make their homes safe, greener and more energy-efficient.”

One of Singh’s health-related commitments is getting elders Inuit-led care in their own communities and in their own language.

He also committed to reforming the Nutrition North program.

Annamie Paul, the leader of the Green party, responded on Aug. 31, stating she is “deeply committed” to ensuring Nunavummiut’s needs are met.

The Green party is calling for bigger spending on affordable housing and infrastructure, and collaboration with the territorial government to make health services and mental health supports more accessible.

The Green party does not have a candidate representing Nunavut in this federal election.

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(2) Comments:

  1. Posted by Truestory on

    Liberal hasn’t responded. More likely the funding will go out of Canada again. Trudeau likes to help Non Canadians. Nunavut is North America’s “3rd” world.

  2. Posted by Not Surprised on

    Not surprised. Trudeau don’t care about Nunavut, he has done the bare minimum for the last 6 years.
    People need to think their vote out.
    A Liberal vote for someone who has no proven success for Nunavut.
    A NDP who won’t be able to get anything and we see much the same as the last MP
    A chance for change with the Conservatives where there is hope and dedication to Nunavut.
    I don’t think this is rocket science anymore.


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