Issues affecting Nunavut left off the election agenda

It's been a week since the federal election was called, and groups in Nunavut already feel like many issues they care about have been left off the agenda.

'Once again I think we're being put on the back burner,' says Pauktuutit president

It's been a week since the federal election was called and groups in Nunavut already feel like many issues they care about have been left off the agenda.

Paul Crowley, who heads the Arctic Program for World Wildlife Fund Canada in Iqaluit, says when it comes to Aboriginal issues and the environment the political conversation has been "pretty thin."

He thinks the political leaders need to look at these matters in order to come up with new economic solutions.

"Frankly if the economy is having such a hard time," says Crowley, "it's in large part because it has been detached from the environment."

Crowley says although the North has been adversely affected by climate change, there is little conversation between the federal leaders and communities here about ways to provide Nunavut the infrastructure it needs to mitigate the effects of environmental changes.

"Certainly on greenhouse gas emission and climate change, the North is the hardest hit," he adds, "It's heating up at double the rate of the rest of the planet, so adaptation here is going to be a real challenge."

According to Crowley debates about addressing climate change need to be more equitable. "Greenhouse gas emissions were not caused by the North. It's a very small population, and yet, this is where all the impacts are happening."

Crowley believes that these are the conversations missing, so far, in the election campaign. 

"I would like to see a much more robust debate about the state of our water, the state of our oceans, what each party is going to do. I'd like to see all that also wrapped in with a much more robust debate about our relationship with aboriginal people."

Aboriginal women's issues on the back burner

Rebecca Kudloo, the President of the Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada, believes that aboriginal womens' issues have also been sidelined in the current election campaign.

"Once again I think we're being put on the back burner," Kudloo says. 

"Aboriginal issues, especially missing and murdered indigenous women, have been in the forefront and I thought it would have been mentioned in the first debate."

Kudloo says the leaders have barely discussed any of the most pressing issues for Inuit. That includes programs to address domestic violence and prevent suicide, and to address the lack of social services generally. 

"The people who make decisions don't seem to understand, that gets frustrating."

With such a long campaign, Kudloo hopes they'll make the agenda before election day. 


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