Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Nunavut September 02, 2014 - 5:24 pm

NDP leader Mulcair slams PM Harper’s northern record

“He doesn’t have a plan. It’s all photo-ops”

Thomas Mulcair, leader of the official opposition in the House of Commons and national leader of the New Democratic Party, speaks to a reporter Sept. 2 at the Karibrew Café in Iqaluit during a visit to the community. (PHOTO BY JIM BELL)
Thomas Mulcair, leader of the official opposition in the House of Commons and national leader of the New Democratic Party, speaks to a reporter Sept. 2 at the Karibrew Café in Iqaluit during a visit to the community. (PHOTO BY JIM BELL)

When asked what he thinks about Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s northern strategy, Thomas Mulcair doesn’t hold back.

“He doesn’t have a plan. It’s all photo-ops,” Mulcair told Nunatsiaq News Sept. 2 in a short interview in Iqaluit.

Mulcair, the national leader of the New Democratic Party and the leader of the official opposition in the House of Commons, is visiting Iqaluit this week with Romeo Saganash, the NDP MP for Abitibi-James Bay-Nunavik- Eeyou.

In an interview, Mulcair said Harper’s record on northern issues is all talk and no action, and he slammed the Conservative government for a long list of stalled northern projects, including its Arctic patrol vessel program, the unfinished naval station at Nanisivik and the long–promised Coast Guard vessel, the John G. Diefenbaker.

And he accused Harper’s government of ignoring issues like Iqaluit’s need for a deepwater port, Nunavut’s need for better waste management infrastructure, and he accused them of “gutting” national environmental regulations.

At the same time, he said he’s “thankful” that Nunavut received federal money to help build the new Iqaluit airport, referring to a $73 million contribution Nunavut received from P3 Canada.

As for Nunavut MP Leona Aglukkaq, the environment minister, said “it’s difficult to convey our disappointment with her record,” Mulcair said.

“She said she didn’t believe climate change is a problem… and then corrected herself afterwards,” Mulcair said.

That’s in reference to a CTV television interview in October 2013, when, in the opinion of some people, Aglukkaq appeared to cast doubt on the science of climate change.

While promising that an NDP government would provide better protection for the environment than the current Conservative regime, Mulcair said his party is not against resource development.

As an example, he cited a speech he gave to a mining conference in Toronto this past February, when he had this to say to the mining industry: “I want you to succeed.”

And he said that on relations with Aboriginal peoples, industry may actually have a better record than the Conservative government.

Resource developers now know they must respect Aboriginal rights and title, and are better at building relationships with affected communities, Mulcair said.

“The companies are ahead of the government on this,” he said.

If elected to government in a federal election that must be held on or before Oct. 19, 2015, Mulcair said the NDP would ensure that government actions affecting Aborigional land claims agreement and treaties would be brought to the cabinet table and examined to ensure the Crown is fulfilling its duties.

He also said that in next year’s election, the NDP will “put a lot of effort into Nunavut” to ensure that Aglukkaq is defeated, should she choose to run again.

And an NDP government would reduce the cost of food for northerners and improve the northern residents tax deduction by allowing it to rise with the cost of living.

Last week, Mulcair announced that, if elected, an NDP government would also call a national inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women within it’s first 100 days.

Mulcair and Saganash were to appear at a town hall event scheduled for Iqaluit’s francophone centre at 6 p.m. Sept. 2.

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(14) Comments:

#1. Posted by NiceGuyBut on September 02, 2014

Nice of him to visit and he is saying all the right things, but he will not win the next election, so NDP will be in the Opposition once again.

The Liberals are far ahead and Canadians want them to form the next Government because they can take on Harper better in an election than the NDP can.

#2. Posted by Bob the Bonobo on September 02, 2014

Pick your candidate well and don’t wait too long to do it!

Given their intense program focus I’m a bit surprised the NDP doesn’t do better in Nunavut, can anyone tell me why this is?

#3. Posted by LOL on September 02, 2014

NDP agenda does not work in the south. look at there record where they have been the governing party. But maybe if they promise enough
they can fool us too. I am not saying the other parties are better but where is the money coming from, we have only one rep in the house of parliament why wast it. At least our voice is being heard with Leona.

#4. Posted by interesting on September 03, 2014

I like what he is saying, our cost of living is always rising, but not our pay,so I just might vote for them in the next election.

#5. Posted by arctic migrant on September 03, 2014

#3 - Please, we all know that the only voice Leona hears is the one from the Prime Minister’s office. Did you hear her on the radio this morning, stumbling over her response to a question about seismic testing? Claiming to be listening to northerners? She is our environment minister! Her job is to protect the environment, not sell it (and all of us) to the highest bidder.

#6. Posted by Enough Tax on September 03, 2014

The tax breaks that working Nunavummiut receive aren’t enough to offset the higher income taxes we would be paying under an NDP rule. I already pay enough tax as it is. A vote for the NDP or Liberals is a vote for less money in the pockets of anyone in the 3rd or 4th income tax bracket, which is the vast majority of people employed in Nunavut.

As for Harper’s record, the word on the street is he has done a heck of a lot more for Nunavut than the Liberals ever did.

#7. Posted by Housing on September 03, 2014

Mulcair also commented on housing last night. He said that relatively speaking “it wouldn’t take much” for the federal government to resolve Nunavut’s housing crisis and that there is no reason not to do it. He also said that his government would develop and implement a national housing strategy that would take into account the high costs in Nunavut.

#8. Posted by voter on September 03, 2014

Mulcair is a nice person, but as said above, his party will not win the election to form a Government. Northerners want a party in power that represents them, not one who will be in Opposition.

#9. Posted by george on September 03, 2014

The NDP have never governed the nation on Parliament Hill. Much like the Green Party of Canada, they are enabler’s of conservatives to win elections.

There is so much anti-conservative sentiment across this fine nation that who knows what will happen. I have never seen this level of disgust against a sitting leader.

Right now, Justin is leading the pack with the Liberal Party of Canada.

#10. Posted by Philthy on September 03, 2014

Harper pictured standing proudly on the bow of a Canadian destroyer like Franklin or Frobisher or on the land with the Rangers for a photo op worthy of Vladimir Putin but screws our vets over while NATO is begging Blustering Baird and Canada to fulfill its commitments on defense spending (less than 2% GDP) so they can oppose Russian expansionism but Harper needs a budget surplus for his 2015 election. What cowardly frauds you Cons fawn over and kow tow to…

#11. Posted by Northerner on September 03, 2014

Put your money where your mouth is Mulcair, what promises are you making for Nunavummiut?  What are you going to do other than just point out the cons shortcomings?

#12. Posted by Now what? on September 03, 2014

#8 so who will you be voting for in 2015 then, Trudeau? The Conservatives are finished.

#13. Posted by True Doh on September 03, 2014

Typical politics up in Nunavut. We’ll give/do this when we get elected.

In reality, what has Nunavut benefit from the feds since 1999?

Still no roads, no cheaper power rates, food, same airlines, housing still a big problem….

The biggest things to ever happen in Nunavut are still 1999 NU celebrations, NU GOVT and the new Iqaluit airport.

#14. Posted by David on September 17, 2014

You complain that the Feds have done nothing for you since 1999 yet you keep voting in the same parties. Do you think the NDP would do any worse?  Give them their shot, you might be pleasantly surprised.

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