A debate over some comments made by Environment Minister and Nunavut MP Leona Aglukkaq in Iqaluit earlier this week has reached the floor of the House of Commons.
During Question Period in Ottawa yesterday, NDP MP Niki Ashton asked Aglukkaq to come clean on how the Fair Elections Act will affect people in Nunavut.
“The minister claims every hamlet has photo ID, yet the MLA for South Baffin [David Joanasie] says his constituents have to fly to Iqaluit. Will the environment minister come clean on voter ID cards for northerners and agree to stop reinventing history?”
It started during a news conference in Iqaluit earlier this week, where Aglukkaq was making an announcement about CanNor funding.
Asked about how the Fair Elections Act would affect people in Nunavut, she made this reply.
“When 9/11 occurred, I was in cabinet at the time. We purchased cameras for every community so that people travelling on the aircraft had an identification card.”
Aglukkaq went on to say that people in Nunavut have access to photo ID.
An APTN report pointed out two factual errors in that statement.
Aglukkaq was first elected as a territorial MLA in 2004 — three years after 9/11.
And much of the equipment set up in communities is now outdated or not working.
In the House yesterday, Aglukkaq clarified her comments.
“After 9/11 in Nunavut we required identifications for our citizens to get on aircraft, to access aircraft for medical purposes. I was in cabinet in 2004 when we purchased the cameras for the municipalities in Nunavut.”
Opposition MPs have been very critical of the Conservatives' proposed Fair Elections Act.
It would eliminate vouching — a practice where people can verify another person’s identity, instead of presenting government-issued ID.