A day after battling party leaders in the one and only English language debate, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau touched down in Iqaluit touting his government’s pledge to fight climate change and promising to eliminate diesel from all indigenous communities by 2030.
It was Trudeau’s third visit to Iqaluit this year. He arrived Oct. 8 after 1 p.m., approximately one hour late, to the press conference held in Sylvia Grinnell Territorial Park with his two children, Ella-Grace Margaret Trudeau and Xavier James Trudeau, and Megan Pizzo-Lyall, the Liberal candidate for Nunavut in the upcoming federal election.
Pizzo-Lyall quietly stood by Trudeau at the podium, as he spoke to the local and national media plus the New York Times and German television about the Liberals’ plan to fight against climate change and protect the environment.
“We’ll conserve even more of our land and water. We’ll help home retrofit their homes. We’ll build an economic ecosystem that drives clean tech innovation. We’ll ensure that all indigenous communities are off diesel and instead powered by clean affordable energy like hydro by the year 2030. We’ll hit net zero emissions by the year 2050,” promised Trudeau.
When asked to elaborate on how he plans to get indigenous communities off diesel, he offered no further information.
Similarly, when Nunavut News asked how many homes the Liberal government would promise to build in Nunavut over the next four years, the Liberal leader responded vaguely.
“We put forward a national housing strategy that is focused on building affordable infrastructure right across the country but it’s obviously not a cookie cutter model that will be the same everywhere,” stated Trudeau.
He assured the Liberal party’s plan to meet the needs of Nunavut communities is “significant” and “ambitious.”
Several times, Trudeau made an effort to suggest unlike the Liberals, the Conservatives do not have a real plan to fight against climate change and to protect the environment.
Trudeau stated, “Conservatives have promised to rip up the only serious plan to fight climate change that Canada has ever had.”
The lone Nunavut seat in the House of Commons was held by Conservative Leona Aglukkaq from 2008 to 2015. She’s trying to reclaim her seat against a slate of candidates that include Pizzo-Lyall, the NDP’s Mumilaaq Qaqqaq, and the Green Party’s Douglas Roy.
The current MP, Hunter Tootoo, who won as a Liberal in 2015 before leaving the party in 2016 to sit as an independent, is not seeking re-election.
Trudeau promised, if re-elected, to work in close partnership with Indigenous peoples and hopes to take the burden off the shoulders of future generations by addressing climate change.
Following the 30-minute press conference, Trudeau, his children and Pizzo-Lyall were driven to the Elders’ Qammaq in downtown Iqaluit. Trudeau walked around the cozy Qammaq introducing himself, his children and his candidate to elders as media took photos. There were about 20 elders, who all seemed very happy to meet the prime minister.
After the brief 10-minute visit, Trudeau went to chat and take photos with the public, who had been patiently waiting outside the Qammaq. There was a small crowd of 50-100 people consisting mainly of students and Liberal supporters. The atmosphere was energetic as many individuals were excited to meet and take photos with Trudeau.
After the event, the Liberal leader immediately departed to the airport for his next campaign stop, Toronto.
Megan was later interviewed by local media only. In response to how the Liberals plan to get North indigenous communities off diesel, Megan replied, “Well it is not going to be easy. It’s an ambitious plan but we are going to work towards that in the next 4 years.”