Trudeau finishes Iqaluit visit on dogsled, then inside igloo
Prime minister meets with premier on 2nd day of two-day visit
After Thursday’s busy afternoon of celebrations, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spent his final morning in Iqaluit at the Nunavut legislative assembly and then at Sylvia Grinnell Territorial Park.
Trudeau’s two-day visit was to sign the Nunavut Lands and Resources Devolution Agreement – the “largest land transfer in Canada’s history,” according to his office, giving Nunavut new authority over federal lands in the territory.
Hundreds watched the signing ceremony at the Aqsarniit hotel and on an online webcast.
Friday morning was back to regular business, but also an opportunity for Trudeau and his youngest son, Hadrien, to enjoy some time on the land.
The prime minister’s day started with the signing of a guestbook at the legislative assembly. Similar to the previous day’s devolution agreement signing, Trudeau inked his name in syllabics.
After being greeted by Premier P.J. Akeeagok, the pair toured the legislative assembly chamber and then met in private.
Several MLAs and legislature employees gathered on the walkways above the assembly’s main lobby to snap pictures of Trudeau as he walked in and spoke alongside Akeeagok.
Trudeau reflected on his earliest travels to Iqaluit — called Frobisher Bay at that time — with his father, prime minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau.
“My dad brought me up here 50 years ago, and over the past 50 years or so I’ve seen tremendous transformation, changes, strengthening in so many different ways,” Trudeau said.
“Yesterday’s announcement was a huge step for us.”
Both Akeeagok and Trudeau spoke about the significance of the previous day’s events.
“There’s important work ahead of us, but to be sharing the stage with the many elders that were there and incredible youth that were playing yesterday really showed the importance around that,” Akeeagok said.
Trudeau repeated his promise to support Nunavut as it enters a three-year transition period, before devolution takes effect April 1, 2027.
“While we do that, we’re also going to be taking care of other big things, whether it’s continuing our great work on housing … whether it’s talking about sovereignty and protection of the Arctic,” he said.
“We’re really excited.”
After the meetings, the Trudeaus, Akeeagok and Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. president Aluki Kotierk headed to Sylvia Grinnell Park for a dogsled ride.
Trudeau also stopped at an igloo at the front of the park, where elders showed him how to add chunks of ice to the top of the structure.
“An igloo is not only an important cultural symbol, but it also represents housing and community,” Akeeagok said in an Instagram post.”We hope that the federal government will partner with us to build many more homes in Nunavut.”