Nunavut Liberal candidate pledges aid for elders, children, hunters

Megan Pizzo-Lyall is on the campaign trail as Nunavut's Liberal Party candidate. 

She is sure it's her Nunavummiut need as their political voice in the national capital.

"My top priority is ensuring that Nunavut feels heard in Ottawa," Pizzo-Lyall said. "I want people to know that I'm the exact person you need in Ottawa to make sure we continue that relationship so that we are able not just to survive, but to thrive as Inuit in Nunavut." 

Asked why Nunavummiut should vote Liberal in this election, Pizzo-Lyall said the last term speaks for itself. "We've done so much in the last four years."

She spoke of the Canada Child Benefit, introduced in 2016, and Liberal plans to increase that benefit by 15 per cent for children below the age of one. "That helps lift kids out of poverty." Pizzo-Lyall says. 

If re-elected, the Liberals plan to increase Old Age Security payments by ten per cent for seniors when they turn 75. The party already reduced the retirement age to 65.

"I care about families. That means children, that means elders, that means housing needs." 

Sara Frizzell/CBC

Pizzo-Lyall grew up in Taloyoak, and lived in Iqaluit for a decade, where she also served as a city councillor. She now lives in Rankin Inlet where she is operations manager for Atuqtuarvik Corporation, a financing and investment company for Inuit-owned businesses. 

She studied in Ottawa at Nunavut Sivuniksavut, and Environmental Technology at the Nunavut Arctic College. She worked for the Nunavut department of environment and the Qikiqtani Inuit Association.

Pizzo-Lyall was a 2018-2019 Jane Glassco northern fellow.  She studied ways to increase Inuit-owned businesses in Nunavut, through a scholarship from the Gordon Foundation. In her youth, she served on the National Inuit Youth Council run by Canada's national Inuit association, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatimi. 

"It's not just one aspect that I care about. It's everything that we need as families from shelter to food to water," she said. 

Fossil fuels, food security

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau campaigned in Iqaluit on climate change Oct. 8, and said he would work to reduce reliance on diesel in the territory. 

"In the next four years we'll be able to hammer down a real plan and introduce alternative energy options for the territory," Pizzo-Lyall said when asked how the Liberals plan to make that happen. 

"[Trudeau] understands the reality of life in Nunavut, where it's ambitious to take us off fossil fuel usage within the territory," she said. "We all understand the need for fossil fuels across our communities, whether it's from driving to and from work, or heating our homes during the minus 60 months." 

Pizzo-Lyall called the Liberal's $40 million harvesters support grant, announced last fall, a great way to increase food security in Nunavut. A hunter herself, creating better access to country food is important to her.

"It's an overarching goal to have career hunters in our communities. We all know how much country food means to us, whether it's fish caribou seal meat whale meat ... those things that bring nutrition to our families that we have relied on for so many years that we still rely on to this day."