On a day when youth marched outside the legislative assembly calling for climate change action, Iqaluit-Manirajak MLA Adam Lightstone called for a renewable energy rebate program in Nunavut.
All other Canadian jurisdictions have them, Lightstone noted Wednesday.
Premier and Environment Minister Joe Savikataaq said Nunavut still has essentially no choice but to rely on fossil fuels.
“We have programs where the people can get money for retrofits to buildings, to re-insulate, get better energy-efficient windows and doors, and things like that. We’re
doing the best we can with the limited resources we have,” said Savikataaq. “We have the EnergyWise program and we have other programs… We have educational programs where we’re trying to get Nunavummiut to do the small things to try to use less energy.”
He also mentioned the new power plant in Kugluktuk has an option for renewable power and that the Kivalliq Inuit Association is proposing a hydro project extending from Manitoba that would convert five communities and two gold mines from fossil fuels, which would eliminate a “huge amount of carbon.”
Savikataaq added that Nunavut is responsible for a tiny fraction of greenhouse gases: 0.1 per cent of the national total.
“If we shut off every single light and just sat in a cold, dark room in Nunavut, Canada’s carbon share would drop by 0.1 (per cent),” Savikataaq said. “We are the highest per capita user because of the environment of where we live and we are doing our share.”
Lightstone also asked the premier if a youth advisory council would be created under Nunavut’s Climate Change Secretariat. Savikataaq replied that a youth advisory committee is in development.
Lightstone ended Wednesday’s session in the House by filing lengthy and detailed questions about QEC’s solar panel pilot project in Iqaluit and Nunavut Arctic College’s solar panel system.