Activists in Iqaluit are competing with military exercises, high profile visiting Olympians and feel good community events in their efforts to gain attention for northern issues.

Protesters used Prime Minister Harper's visit to Iqaluit on Monday to raise a mixed bag of concerns.

Yesterday, the Public Service Alliance of Canada held a small noon hour protest over funding cuts to the public sector at the city's busiest intersection. 

Alliance member Debbie McLaughlin said it's not just federal workers who suffer.

"We feel that, yes, everyone is affected. You're affected if programs are cut from federal government services. It affects everybody; not just the people working for the federal service," McLaughlin said.

Others say while the Prime Minister is in town, it's an opportunity to grab the nation's attention.

Iqaluit protest

Protesters demonstrate on behalf of several causes, including the high cost of food and the Iqaluit dump fire, outside the hotel where Prime Minister Stephen Harper was having dinner. (Vincent Desrosiers)

The community group Feeding My Family staged protests covering a range of issues from environmental concerns related to the Iqaluit dump fire to the high cost of nutritious food in the North.

Leesee Papatsie, the founder of Feeding My Family, said she wanted to highlight for the Prime Minister and the country the big difference in the cost of living between the North and southern Canada.

"I think this is a good time for different issues to be shown to show him," Papatsie says. "That people do stand up in the North and we can protest in the North. 

Papatsie said Nunavummiut — in her experience — haven't protested much in the past, but that is changing and she hopes some of these concerns will reach the Prime Minister's ear.

Clarifications

  • An earlier version of this story suggested Iqalummiut for Action was involved in organizing the protests. In fact, the group was invited to take part.
    Aug 27, 2014 10:05 AM CT