Northern matters


We’re in Iqaluit this morning with Stéphane Dion. Fun and informative videoblog to follow. The rest of the day: Churchill, Manitoba, then overnight in Victoria. Since we are up here, it is an excellent time to note that ITK, the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, sent questionnaires on Inuit and northern issues to the big federal parties. All five have responded. The answers are collated here, in the order in which they were received.


Northern matters

  1. The Green Party responses are “off” by one.

  2. Also,

    Question 11:

    Response from the Conservative Party of Canada

    I am seriously committed to taking concrete action for the benefit of Inuit Children and families. The Conservative Government has already had key achievements in helping Inuit families and children, namely the Universal Child Care Benefit. This is a concrete program that directly assists Inuit families and children by providing $1200 per year for every child under six. This is also a program the Liberals and the opposition have threatened to cancel.

    I am committed to moving forward to make further strides that will guarantee the welfare of Inuit children.

    I find it unfortunate that the Liberal party response to this question refused to commit to any action at all for Inuit children.

    Did the Prime Minister answer these questions himself?

  3. “Does your party agree that any new federal policy aimed at combating carbon emissions and other greenhouse gases must contain a set of adaptation and adjustments factors for Inuit communities sufficient to ensure that implementation of the policy would not have a net negative effect on regional economies in the Arctic?”

    Given that the effects of global warming seem to be disproportionately hammering the Arctic environment, heaven forbid its inhabitants should incur any costs along with the rest of us in addressing the problem. Yikes.

    While we’re all taking a run at arts funding, how about we start talking about the myth that we should be able to live wherever we feel like in this country, no matter how economically irrational it may be.

    Of course fresh vegetables and fruit are ungodly expensive in remote northern communities. That has nothing to do with Aboriginal issues whatsoever, and everything to do with the costs of fossil fuels required to get them up there, and the economies of scale that don’t support supply chains to small, isolated populations.

  4. Wassim, my hunch is that the questions were answered “by” (i.e. on behalf of, in the voice of) Indian and Northern Affairs minister, Chuck Strahl, but it’s unclear from the presentation).

  5. 1) in Q11 SH says: “I find it unfortunate that the Liberal party response to this question refused to commit to any action at all for Inuit children.”

    Given SH’s attack I take it that those parties that responded later had the ability to review the answers parties that responded earlier in crafting their own.

    2) Wassim, I don’t think the ‘I’ is the PM. Check out answer to Q3: “I will encourage the Prime Minister to continue to meet with Aboriginal Leaders within the broader context of First Ministers meeting, to discuss their issues and concerns.”

    Odd for the CPC to use a non-PM first person here on two fronts: 1) I thought only PMSH was talking publicly like this; 2) If these are someone else’s commitments what are they worth?

    3) In response to Q3: CPC makes not timing commitment, not even a weak one.

  6. I just find it intersting that some Conservative families who support mommies taking care of the kids over day-care have their four and five year olds in junior and senior kindergarten classes. Kindergarten is not obligatory for kids. Yet, most parents have their children in the program. If affordable day-care is offered to families, then most families would take advantage of it, including Conservative families.

  7. Hi
    Recently Mr. Wells asked readers to comment about all candidates meetings in our ridings. I thought you’d be interested in what appears in out local paper. The editor is organizing an all candidates meeting for Simcoe Grey voters. Here’s what he writes:
    “I am the organizer of an all candidates meeting in the Springwater Room on Oct 7. While I was trying to check everyone’s agenda and see if they were available I felt there may have been some reticence on behalf of one or more of the candidates…. I was told that one of them thought they had been in enough debates and I repeated the campaign chairperson’s words in an email. I received a curt reply about the candidate’s whereabouts….This led to a little flurry of communications and I received a little note which reads as follows:

    Hi Michael
    Helena Guergis told me that she is marrying the Edmonton Conservative MP Rahim Jafer on October 18. This is four days after the election, and she needs to pack her bags. If you were having a life changing experience in a few days, what would you do?”

    I can’t verify the story, but the editor published it as having happened to him.

  8. M. Dion is essentially following the fallacy that underlines prime minister Harper’s stance; there is actually no dispute about our sovereignty over northern lands, with one tiny exception. A letter of mine in the Ottawa Citizen, Sept. 26:

    ‘Areas of dispute

    Re: Boots on tundra, Sept. 23.

    Letter-writer Bob Lidstone writes that “Simply put, a failure on Canada’s part to put our boots on our Arctic tundra will inevitably result in someone else’s being there.” Hardly.

    Mr. Lidstone has fallen victim to the efforts of the Conservative government to stoke jingoistic fervour [for example] over the north. In fact no one except the Danes (Hans Island) has any claim on any Canadian land in the north. Foreign countries are about as likely to invade the north as they are to invade Newfoundland.

    The areas of dispute are the status in maritime law of the Northwest Passage; the maritime boundary in the Beaufort Sea between the U.S. and Canada; and the economic rights to the Arctic seabed in offshore areas beyond various countries’ coastal 320-kilometre exclusive economic zones.

    Boots on the tundra will be of little help in asserting Canadian claims in any of these cases.

    Mark Collins,


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