Trudeau makes campaign stop in Iqaluit to talk climate change

“A vote for me is a vote for Nunavut,” says Nunavut’s Liberal candidate

Liberal leader Justin Trudeau visits Iqaluit’s Sylvia Grinnell Park with his children Ella-Grace, 10, and Xavier, 11, as well as Megan Pizzo-Lyall, his party’s candidate for Nunavut, on Tuesday, Oct. 8. (Photo by Dustin Patar)

By Emma Tranter

With the rolling Sylvia Grinnell River as his backdrop, Liberal leader Justin Trudeau made a brief campaign stop in Iqaluit today.

He wore a handmade parka with his party’s name embroidered in bright red—the same parka he wore in Iqaluit in 2015—and spoke about his plan to protect the environment and fight climate change.

“Canada is warming at twice the global rate. The North is heating up at three times the global average. That means unpredictable and dangerous ice conditions for harvesters. It means disrupted Arctic ecosystems. It means species extinction,” he said to a pool of media and campaign staff who had just flown up from Ottawa that morning.

Trudeau said if re-elected, his party would go even “further to protect the environment” by conserving more land and more water.

“It’s the most challenging issue of our time that Canadians are going to make a choice on,” he said.

  • Trudeau speaks with a woman at the elders' qammaq in Iqaluit Oct. 8. (Photo Dustin Patar)

Trudeau last visited Iqaluit in August, as part of a trip that also saw him visit Arctic Bay, for announcements on marine protection and housing in the territory.

Today’s visit did not include any new announcements from the Liberal leader. Instead, it focused on his party’s campaign promises to fight climate change.

One of those promises is to get all of Nunavut’s communities off diesel by 2030.

Standing behind a small podium positioned carefully on the rocky tundra, Trudeau fielded questions from his press pool that mostly focused on last night’s English leaders debate in Gatineau, Que.

But when asked about his plans for green housing initiatives in Nunavut and his promise to get the North off diesel by 2030, Trudeau did not specifically answer, but said the Liberals have been committed to investing in the North over the last four years and will continue to do so.

“We will be part of the fight to invest more and both mitigate against climate change and grow opportunities for future generations,” he said.

On top of promoting green initiatives in the North, Trudeau said he also recognized that Nunavummiut still face high food prices under the revamped Nutrition North food program.

“One of the commitments in our platform on top of further investments in Nutrition North is to increase the northern travel allowance,” he said.

“Northerners still face unacceptably high prices for basic necessities. And we will do more,” he added.

Nutrition North, introduced under the Harper government in 2011, was criticized in a report released earlier this year by the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

“Food insecurity was a pervasive problem in Nunavut before Nutrition North Canada, but it has become even more prevalent since the program was implemented,” the study states.

In Dec. 2018, the Liberals announced increases to existing subsidies on certain items like milk and infant formula by 25 per cent, as well as a new harvesters support program.

Trudeau, joined by his two oldest children, also visited the elders’ qammaq to speak with residents and met briefly with Grade 10 students from Inuksuk High School.

Trudeau was also joined throughout his visit by Megan Pizzo-Lyall, Nunavut’s Liberal candidate.

For Pizzo-Lyall, fighting climate change is top of mind.

“It’s not going to be easy. And it is an ambitious plan. But we’re going to work towards this in the next four years,” she said.

“I’ve been an advocate for [the] environment and I am an avid hunter and enjoyer of our environment. A lot of us enjoy being in Nunavut because of our scenery, our culture. So it means a lot to me to preserve and promote our environment. Especially for our future generations.”

When asked what she would say to undecided voters in Nunavut, Pizzo-Lyall said she believes a Liberal government will continue to push forward on important issues like climate change.

“To me, there shouldn’t be any other option. We have a great platform and we want to keep moving forward. Not just with the Liberal party alone, but in partnership with the Government of Nunavut, with the Inuit regional organizations,” she said.

“A vote for me is a vote for Nunavut.”

Pizzo-Lyall is up against Conservative candidate Leona Aglukkaq, NDP candidate Mumilaaq Qaqqaq and Green Party candidate Douglas Roy. The federal election is on Oct. 21.

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(20) Comments:

  1. Posted by The Old Trapper on

    Hopefully we will see a Liberal minority that needs the support of the NDP and Greens in order to govern. Both of the minor parties are needed to push the major party to do more when it comes to climate change, and to support for indigenous people.
    There is one more thing that the parties need to do, and that is to ensure better wealth distribution. Extreme wealth is being concentrated in too few individuals and corporations. The extremely wealthy really do need to pay more to support our social programs and our society.

    • Posted by iThink on

      In 2015 didn’t Trudeau promise that this “would be the last election under the first past the post system”? It was a popular position at the time, and one that I believe we need in Canada. But oh how things so quickly changed once the PM realized how difficult it would be. I don’t mind Trudeau but will note vote for him again.

      • Posted by Gobble Gobble on

        Trudeau didn’t back out from FPTP because of the difficulty. He backed out because he wanted a ranked ballot, which would likely mean many Liberal majority governments, while polls showed that Canadians wanted Proportional Representation, which would diminish the Liberal share of seats.

  2. Posted by Fred Durst on

    OK. This is starting to get somewhat ridiculous.

    Trudeau on climate change: “‘It’s the most challenging issue of our time that Canadians are going to make a choice on,’ he said.” Yet, his targets WILL NOT rise to that challenge. I get that he has a plan. Bravo, I guess? But the plan is not good enough. It will not adequately address climate change.

    I get that he’s a smooth talker. I get that he’s a good-looking guy. But wake up. His policies are not good enough. He adopts Harper-era targets (that he won’t achieve). He builds pipelines in BC. It’s as if he is a conservative for people who just don’t want to vote for the Conservatives.

    If you are actually concerned about the environment and climate change, choose another party. Go Green. Go NDP. Go independent. Enough of this “a vote for him is a vote for Sheer!” stuff. Enough of this “at least he’s doing something.” These are cop-outs. Do the right thing.

    • Posted by can’t vote Conservative on

      “It’s as if he is a conservative for people who just don’t want to vote for the Conservatives.”

      But the actual Conservative party doesn’t resonate with most young canadians because they’ve gone too far right into Trumpland. And their social policies are more inclusive than any government in Canadian history.

      I’d rather send a message to the extreme right wing movement in Canada by crushing Scheer than throwing a Hail Mary and voting for NDP (who are just as likely to buckle and try to be people pleasers if they came to power, just like the Notley government did).

      • Posted by Fred Durst on

        I stand by my comment that Trudeau is a conservative for people who just don’t want to vote for the Conservatives, and I think you’re falling into the trap or false choice that Trudeau is desperately trying to establish to save his government.

        1) Social policies – The parties aren’t that different. Scheer is pro-life, but has promised not to open the abortion debate. This is the same policy as the Harper years, and the debate was not reopened for a decade. Trudeau, surprisingly, is also pro-life, according to comments he made in 2011. He too has promised not to reopen the abortion debate, even though one of his Liberal candidates, today in BC, declared himself pro-life. You can’t just say “Trumpland” and have that be it.

        2) Environment – Again, the parties are not different, even though Trudeau keeps coming back to this as a false wedge issue. Both Scheer and Trudeau have said they’ll respect the Paris accords and Harper-era climate targets. But even if they meet these targets, they are not enough to stop the effects of climate change. This Liberal/Conservative policy will greatly impact Nunavummiut. It’s not enough to say eloquently that you have a plan. The plan has to be solid. The Liberal and Conservative plans are not solid.

        I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of the endless back-and-forth of Liberal and Conservative governments that are essentially the same. This status quo approach is harming our environment and our future and our Indigenous communities.

        I say roll those dice. I say throw that “Hail Mary” you mentioned. Maybe it is time for a little radicality. Our climate situation will not be resolved by Liberal and Conservative governments. Again, go Green. Go NDP. Go independent. Let’s break free of these establishment Liberal/Conservative parties that election after election after election go after each other but essentially offer more of the same.

  3. Posted by Patricia Lightfoot on

    You are so right! Thank you. Have updated.

  4. Posted by Crystal Clarity on

    Trudeau and Pizzo-Lyall are identifying all the areas which are key issues to Nunavumiut elders, youth, housing shortages, high cost of living, marine protection, climate change, Pizzo-Lytall representing Nunavut in a Liberal government led by Justin Trudeau makes the most sense. I want to see what the Liberals can do with another 4 years. The other parties while some are led by very good people just don’t have the clout to form a government and some we wouldn’t want to see form a government in any case. It basically comes down to Trudeau and Sheer. Trudeau has made some mistakes out of the gate during his first 4 years but I think he can put that behind him, do better and lead this country. I am very wary of Sheer and anyone else who depends on attack websites and negative campaigning to win an election. It’s such an American campaign strategy …..maybe that’s the American side of Sheer’s dual citizen ship coming out.

    • Posted by iWonder on

      It might be true that the Liberals are identifying the right issues, but that in and of itself is not a terribly difficult thing to do. Shouldn’t we be asking what their track record on addressing those issues actually is?

      • Posted by John on

        I believe Trudeau’s track record so far is batter then what Harper’s track record was. Harper has one of the biggest deficits ever recorded, talking about balanced budgets, Conservatives shouldn’t be talking about balanced budgets, the record of their huge deficits speaks for itself, all the while they cut programs that people need and make rich corporations richer.
        Also what is Leona’s plan? Scheer just doesn’t seem to have any real platform all he does is attack, Trump JR.

        • Posted by iWonder on

          I’m definitely not throwing subtle support behind the conservatives in asking this. But we aren’t voting for Harper either. Neither party is terribly palatable in this, yet here we are faced with what seems like the same old choice between 2 of a kind, almost. Personally I’ll vote Green. I hope to see them build more momentum this election.

  5. Posted by Putuguk on

    The reason Trudeau is vague about what he would do for Nunavut if re-elected is because when he is here, he is not talking to Nunavummiut. There are progressive voters in the south that have at best, only a general sense of the problems facing the North. It is these votes that he is chasing.

    The first thing Trudeau did to Nunavut was put in an oil and gas ban. He did this to get bonus points with Obama, not to stop oil and gas development that was not even happening. This is the Liberal pattern of behavior.

    Southern voters know the Arctic is warming. They may vote for a party that says it is addressing this, even if what they propose to do does not pass muster. They do not have the knowledge to call BS on these promises. It is the same thing for well meaning people that donate to environmental groups to save polar bears that have no clue they are wasting their money.

    If global and Canadian carbon emissions are not curbed, if Canada does not implement an effective carbon reduction plan, it will not matter how much Nunavut land and water is conserved or how many diesel power-stations are taken off line.

    We will still be irrevocably affected, and in the meantime still be facing a multitude of other urgent matters.

    • Posted by Northern Guy on

      I agree. I think that the Liberals have all but conceded this riding to the PCs and that Trudeau’s messaging is aimed at soft NDP and Green party support south of 60. By looking like he cares about the North without
      making any firm commitments he is likely aiming at undecided voters elsewhere.

    • Posted by Go Liberals Go on

      Liberals talk of their platform while the American Conservative leader just focuses on American style dirty sling the other candidate way without any real mention of his platform. It ain’t going the Cons way so let’s vote for more progress and say bye to the American way.

  6. Posted by Tulugaq on

    Vote for Trudeau and we may get a pipeline to Nunavut… The liberals have a phoney environment plan and who can believe them when they renege on their main promises (election changes, reconciliation with Indigenous peoples etc.) and the conservatives have no plan for climate change… It’s time to vote for someone else who may honour its commitments…

    • Posted by Saglusuraalui on

      Again fake information being spewed by haters, Liberals would never build a pipeline to Nunavut, whats with all this hate and fake information to get others to get on your bandwagon? Its laughable when we read these kinds of fear mongering and fake information.
      Liberals have done a lot more then any other party in the 4 years on reconciliation with indigenous people, doing more for the environment all the while fixing what Harper did to Canada. Not a easy thing to do but still have done way lot more then any other party that was in power. Yes we have to be aggressive with protecting the environment but be realistic too, its being done.

  7. Posted by New Canadian on

    When you look at the number of immigrants coming into Canada you will see it has not changed much over the years, immigrants contribute to Canada a lot more over time then what they take, start new businesses, working and paying taxes, it’s not a bad thing to have immigrants.
    Must be getting bad information from the Cons?

    • Posted by iThink on

      The Conservative mindset is one often informed by fear; fear of the future, fear of the other, fear of change in general. Conservatives are more likely to claim that the past was better than the present and should also be a model for the future. I can’t think of any examples where this has turned out to be true, and history often judges them to have been a predominantly backward force in times of social change. On the issue of climate change, for example, this will be their legacy.

      That said, the anti-immigrant strain of thought we see today is, I would suggest, informed not only by fear, but is also inflamed by the efforts of outsiders to our body politic who are trying to tear away at the social cohesion of all western states today.

  8. Posted by Ken on

    We have heard a lot from the Liberal and NDP candidates but very little from Conservative, where is she!?
    She seems to be like Scheer, no real platform vague in answering questions, wondering what she has to offer.

    • Posted by Crystal Clarity on

      Leaving on a jet plane.

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