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Prime minister stops in Iqaluit, makes promises on housing and mental health

The Liberal leader stopped by Iqaluit Square to give some remarks
Liberal leader and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks in Iqaluit Square on Aug. 30. Trevor Wright/NNSL photo

Liberal leader Justin Trudeau touched down in Iqaluit on Aug. 30 to give his support to Nunavut candidate Pat Angnakak.

Tagging along with Trudeau was Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller.

Among the topics the Prime Minister briefly talked about at Iqaluit Square to a crowd of around 100 people were COVID-19 vaccines — for which Nunavut was given priority — housing and mental health.

Trudeau and Miller highlighted the COVID-19 response in the territory, in particular.

“Understanding Nunavut and understanding the North is the only way to properly understand Canada and all Canadians,” said Trudeau. “You were there for each other, making sacrifices, leaning on each other, which is why we worked to send supports. We worked to make sure vaccines specifically came to the North and to Elders in the North quicker than just about any part of the country.”

Miller wanted to “highlight the work everyone has been doing to keep each other safe, particularly during the shutdown in Iqaluit.” He also mentioned the food supports given to Nunavummiut, as well as the work of getting COVID-19 vaccines into the territory.

Trudeau also promised to invest hundreds of millions more towards housing in the coming years and towards Indigenous mental health, which would include an Inuit-specific approach.

Housing was a topic that Angnakak addressed as well.

“Part of my platform has been housing and the need for housing. We all know very, very well what our housing needs are,” she said, adding that much work must be done with regards to mental health. “This is why I chose to run under the Liberal banner, because I felt they were the best party to give us the action we need right now.”

Present at Trudeau’s appearance in the capital was Iqaluit Elder Martha Tikivik, who remembered meeting Justin’s father Pierre Trudeau when he used to come up and visit Nunavut. She praised Justin’s work while in office.

Trudeau looked back at his time in Iqaluit during his tenure in office.

“Over the past six years it has been an incredible privilege of mine to come up here regularly to talk about the work we need to do together,” he said. “The lessons we learned during COVID, we need to continue to work into the coming months and years as we build a better future for everyone.

“There’s so much more we have to do on child care, on education, on health, on so many partnerships,” he said. “We will continue to work with you, led by you, to build a stronger future for the North and all of Canada.”

As Trudeau was campaigning in Nunavut’s capital, the NDP’s Lori Idlout released a statement to media: “Justin Trudeau can sound good in his promises, but in the last six years, Nunavutmmiut have learned that he has no real intention of delivering on his commitments. He’s had six years to fix the housing crisis and address affordability in the territory—yet we are still living in mold-infested, overcrowded homes and many are without proper drinking water. We are struggling to afford basics like groceries and gas, and young people are struggling with their mental health.”