The leader of the official opposition says Canada's economic future is in the North.

NDP leader Tom Mulcair and MP Romeo Saganash spoke to a packed house at Iqaluit's francophone centre last night.

The discussion hit on many issues of concern to people in Iqaluit, including the need for a port, more day care spots and high-speed internet.

Even Iqaluit’s dump fire got a mention, and the crowd seemed pleased with what Mulcair had to say.

“The harmonious, sustainable development of the North is essential, first and foremost for the people of the North who are its greatest resource.”

Packed house

Mulcair spoke to a packed house at Iqaluit's francophone centre. (Jane Sponagle/CBC)

He also repeated his promise that his party would launch an inquiry into missing and murdered aboriginal women within his first 100 days as Prime Minister.

“The City of Ottawa represents about the same population as First Nations in Canada. If 1,200 women were murdered or had gone missing in the Ottawa region in the past 30 years, do you think we would need the United Nations to push us to have an inquiry?” he said. “That inquiry would have happened a long time ago.”

NDP has room to grow in Nunavut

The NDP has yet to name a candidate for Nunavut in the next federal election.

The party has traditionally not fared well in Nunavut, with candidates typically trailing Liberals and Conservatives.

Peter Ittinuar was the last NDP candidate to represent the eastern Arctic — in the riding then known as Nunatsiaq — beginning in 1979. Three years later, he crossed the floor to join the Liberals.


Peter Ittinuar, far right, in 1981 with then-federal justice minister Jean Chrétien, far left, and Harry Daniels, then-chairman of the Native Council of Canada. (Peter Bregg/Canadian Press)

In recent years, Paul Irngaut came closest to taking the seat in 2008 when he won 28 per cent of the vote, but he was still behind Conservative Leona Aglukkaq and Liberal Kirt Ejesiak.

In 2011, Aglukkaq won with almost 50 per cent of the vote, with the NDP candidate, Jack Hicks, trailing behind at close to 20 per cent.