What Canada's 4 main political parties have promised for the North

·4 min read
N.W.T. election polling station Oct. 1, 2019. Before you vote, take a look at what each party is promising for the North. (Randall McKenzie/CBC - image credit)
N.W.T. election polling station Oct. 1, 2019. Before you vote, take a look at what each party is promising for the North. (Randall McKenzie/CBC - image credit)

From climate change to northern sovereignty to Indigenous rights, Canada's political parties all have something to say about the future of northern communities.

We combed through each party's platform to dig out the promises that affect the North.

Liberal Party

The Liberal Party is pledging to put at least $300 million toward an urban, rural and northern Indigenous housing strategy.

It will aim to end homelessness by building more affordable rental housing and fixing up units in disrepair.

It is promising to cut childcare costs in half next year and deliver on $10-a-day childcare within five years.

The party also is promising to speed up the roll-out of wireless and high-speed internet in rural and northern areas.

It would upgrade the North Warning System and invest in northern infrastructure.

The Liberal Party says it will fund northern Aboriginal Head Start programs, invest in long-term and continuing care for Indigenous people to remain near their communities, even in northern and rural areas, and provide more funding for northern health care workers.

It said it will also move forward with the self-government framework agreement with the Northwest Territory Métis Nation, and will speed up the resolution of land claims.

The Liberal Party candidates in the North are Michael McLeod in the Northwest Territories, Dr. Brendan Hanley in the Yukon and Pat Angnakak in Nunavut.

Conservative Party

The Conservative Party says it will boost Arctic sovereignty by expanding the Canadian Rangers, updating the North Warning System, building northern infrastructure and introducing an economic development plan for northern resources.

It promises to build an all-weather road between Grays Bay, Nunavut, and Yellowknife, and to fund a deepwater port in Tuktoyaktuk.

It said it will support an Indigenous Guardians program for protected areas.

It pledged to introduce a tax credit of up to $4,000 a year to encourage workers to go to rural and northern areas.

It said it will also implement a northern housing strategy, support land-based treatment programs and improve the Nutrition North program.

The Conservative Party said it will address homelessness through a Housing First approach, support land-based treatment programs and invest $325 million in residential drug treatment beds and recovery centres across the country.

The Conservative Party candidates in the North are Lea Mollison in the Northwest Territories, Barbara Dunlop in the Yukon and Laura Mackenzie in Nunavut.

NDP Party

The NDP has pledged to end homelessness within a decade, adopt a Housing First strategy and create more affordable housing.

It will also create an urban, rural and northern Indigenous housing strategy, increase the amount of public housing available in the Northwest Territories and fund "northern-based" housing designs.

The NDP has promised to create a northern infrastructure fund for roads and internet and introduce a tax credit for graduates to work in northern and rural communities.

The party says it will work to move northern communities off diesel, reform the Nutrition North program by turning it into a social program instead of a subsidy, and create a national school nutrition program.

It is also promising to fund Indigenous language revitalization programs, and to provide funding for suicide prevention in the North.

The NDP candidates in the North are Kelvin Kotchilea for the Northwest Territories, Lisa-Vollans-Leduc in the Yukon and Lori Idlout in Nunavut.

Green Party

The Green Party said it will invest in infrastructure funding for rural and northern communities, and work with non-profits to build greenhouses or hydroponic towers to improve food security in northern communities.

It will create an urban, rural and northern Indigenous housing strategy, support Housing First initiatives and provide more mental health services for homeless individuals. It will also declare a national emergency around homelessness and housing affordability, and provide more services for youth experiencing homelessness.

The party also said it will reinforce Arctic sovereignty through expanded patrols, and by funding community infrastructure and northern research and culture.

The Green Party candidates in the North are Roland Laufer in the Northwest Territories and Lenore Morris in the Yukon.

Independent candidates

There are two independent candidates running in the North this election, one in the Northwest Territories and the other in the Yukon.

In the N.W.T., Jane Groenewegen told the CBC previously that she sees reconciliation as a major topic in Canada, and wants to see federal leaders make progress on land claims.

On her campaign Facebook page, Groenewegen has posted about housing shortages. She said she wants to see already-available money for housing have a higher uptake so more housing becomes available in communities. She also wants to see continued funding commitments for social housing needs.

In Yukon, former Conservative candidate Jonas Smith is running as an independent. He told CBC the most important issue is to safely reopen the economy, "making sure that healthy people can get their livelihoods back."

He said health care, and particularly mental health, are top of mind issues for him.

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